Jacksonville’s top art museum opens for first time during pandemic
The Cummer Art Museum and Gardens opened the interior for visitors for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak this week. Image via Cummer Art Museum and Gardens.

CUMMEROPENING
Attendance is by reservation only to promote social distancing.

A cultural hub in Jacksonville opened its doors this week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville’s Riverside area allowed controlled and limited public access to indoor exhibitions and galleries. The museum is a draw not only for local residents but is also a noted spot for tourists.

Since its reopening to the public on Tuesday, the Cummer Museum on the St. Johns River has restricted public access to its indoor areas by reservation, which can be made on the museum’s website. The museum is now issuing tickets with admission in two-hour increments to control access and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors must select need a particular time to visit the facility.

The museum opened the outdoor gardens in its first phase of renewed operations in June. But the admission to interior artwork and exhibits is a major step toward returning to conditions that resemble some sort of normalcy for one of Jacksonville’s foremost cultural gems. The museum is often cited as an economic generator.

“Since the Museum closed to the public in March, we have been diligently working toward the day when we could safely welcome the community back to our galleries to find comfort, inspiration and respite during this challenging time,” said Cummer Museam Interim Director and Chief Advancement Officer Kerrie Slattery. “We are grateful to be able to open our doors so that everyone can once again experience art, culture and connection, in a safe and socially distanced setting.”

To help increase renewed interest, the museum is offering free admission to military families Saturday and Sunday.

The museum also implemented several safety standards including multiple hand sanitizer dispensers, daily intensive cleanings and plexiglass screen guards near the front desk. The museum is providing visitors with face masks.

The museum’s café is expected to open Aug. 1.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected]



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