Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's Groupon: for $42, you get a one-year family membership to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (an $85 value). Bring your Groupon to the museum, call or email by July 31, 2011, to activate your membership.
Located on the beautiful banks of the Saint Johns River, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens houses a collection of more than 5,000 works of art, including paintings by American masters Childe Hassam, Frederick Carl Frieseke, and Edmund Greacen. The museum also contains pristine porcelain pieces, as well as truly ancient antiquities that can put an uncle's cardboard box of Betamax tapes to shame. Member families of two named adults and any number of their children or grandchildren under the age of 18 may wander freely through the museum's gardens—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—which feature distinctly different horticultural areas, such as the English Garden and the Italian Garden.
Besides unfettered access to the painting, porcelain, and gardens, a one-year family membership grants a number of benefits, including free admission to the museum and gardens, free or reduced admission to special events, and many other perks. The North American Reciprocal Museum program also gives you reciprocal admission to more than 200 museums when you sign up at the Cummer Museum or offer it relationship advice.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
A year before her death in 1959, Ninah Cummer—an art collector, garden enthusiast, and civic leader—donated her riverfront home and art collection to the community, imploring her fellow citizens to help support the foundation of an art museum. In less than 10 years, the board of trustees transformed the abode into the verdant Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, adding to Ninah's original gift of 60 pieces until the collection included nearly 1,000 works of art.
Today, the permanent collection holds pieces that span more than four millennia, from 2,100 B.C. to the 21st century. An ancient Egyptian stone tablet intrigues viewers with cryptic hieroglyphs and stylized portraits while, nearby, Peter Paul Rubens' The Lamentation of Christ epitomizes the colorful, sweepingly histrionic style of the Baroque painters. American treasures include Gilbert Stuart's iconic portrait of George Washington—one of over 100 he painted in an attempt to perfect the likeness of the first president and design a killer mask for the White House Halloween party.
After getting their fill of indoor beauty, guests can head to the open air and vibrant scenery of the museum's gardens. Begun more than a century ago, the gardens crisscross with winding paths that take guests under the canopies of majestic oaks and alongside the Italian garden's shimmering reflecting pools.