The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has received an $800,000 gift to name and endow the position of garden curator, thanks to the generosity of the Lorena “Lory” Doolittle and her family. The gift fully funds the $1.5 million endowment for the position allowing the museum to create The Doolittle Family Garden Curator position. The garden curator will work with the museum team to create meaningful and artful opportunities that make an impact and share the museum’s historic gardens with visitors in engaging and inspiring ways.
“With this gift, Lory Doolittle and her family help assure that the treasures of landscape architecture here at the Cummer Museum will be stewarded into the future,” said Adam Levine, Ph.D., the museum’s George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director & Chief Executive Officer. “The Cummer Museum houses masterpieces in its galleries by Rubens, Turner and Degas, but those are equaled if not exceeded by our outdoor masterpieces by Meehan, Olmstead and Shipman. Ms. Doolittle has embraced this view and through this gift helps provide the care that will make these gardens available to the Jacksonville community for generations to come.”
Lory Doolittle has been actively involved with the museum since moving to Jacksonville in 2004 from Connecticut. She has worked as a volunteer with the museum’s docents since 2013, providing tours of the galleries and gardens for schools, private groups and the general public. She has also been actively involved with the Cummer Beaches affinity group. Doolittle has been a longtime supporter of the museum’s mission and vision, through financial and volunteer support, including service on the museum’s Education Committee.
“The Cummer Gardens were created by Ninah Cummer with care and devotion,” Lory Doolittle said. “With the help of a garden curator, Mrs. Cummer’s garden legacy will continue to enhance the Cummer Museum and educate the public.”
Proceeds from the endowment will be used to support the compensation and expenses related to maintaining a garden curator. The garden curator will establish a strategy to create greater permeability and crossover between the museum’s gardens and gallery spaces, develop garden-related programming and create partnerships that will promote the visibility of the gardens in Jacksonville and beyond.