The Doolittle Family Garden Curator

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens seeks a Full-time dynamic Garden Curator who will be part of a dedicated team within an organization supportive of new ideas and creative risk-taking. Inspired by the tenets of quality, access, and fun, the successful candidate will enjoy working alongside the Curatorial and Education teams to create meaningful, impactful, and artful engagement opportunities for broad audiences. The Doolittle Family Garden Curator manages all aspects of the Museum’s living works of art with a focus on greater permeability and crossover between these spaces and our object-based art collection, and works collaboratively with internal and community partners to promote the visibility of these nationally-significant spaces.

About the Cummer Museum

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, an AAM-accredited institution in Jacksonville, Florida, is unique in its artistic resources as it is composed of significant riverfront gardens and permanent art collections. Idyllically located on the banks of the St. Johns River, the gardens have a fascinating history, stretching back more than 100 years, and bear the imprint of some of the foremost names in landscape design and horticulture, including Ossian Cole Simonds, Ellen Biddle Shipman, Thomas Meehan and Sons, and the Olmsted firm. The involvement of these prestigious firms gives national importance to the gardens at the Museum. Throughout the year, the gardens are ablaze with rare horticultural specimens nestled under a canopy of mature live oak trees. In addition to the lush plantings, features such as reflecting pools, fountains, arbors, antique ornaments, and sculptures help create a special outdoor space that provides a perfect complement to the Museum's collections. The Cummer Gardens are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Cummer Museum also maintains one of the most significant collections of European and American art in the Southeast. The Museum's founders, Arthur and Ninah Cummer, assembled a private collection of 60 Old Master and 19th-century American paintings, forming the nucleus of the permanent collection. Since its opening in 1961, the museum’s permanent collection has grown through purchase and donation to more than 5,000 objects, whose dates of origin range from 2000 B.C. to the present. The strength of the collection is European (1300 – 1920) and American (1800 – 1940) paintings, but examples of ancient Mediterranean art, Japanese art, and later 20th-century American art are included in the collection. The Museum also features one of the three finest collections of early manufacture (1710 – 1760) Meissen porcelain in the world.

Throughout the institution’s history, the collections and gardens have served as the cornerstone in the Museum’s mission – to "engage and inspire through the arts, gardens, and education." In accordance with the expressed wishes of its founder, Ninah May Holden Cummer, it seeks to serve as “a center of beauty and culture” for the benefit of "all of the people." Educational programs are presented through the Museum’s nationally recognized interactive learning center, Art Connections, winner of the prestigious IMLS Museum Services Award.

Essential Function:

Maintain the philosophical and physical integrity of the historic garden spaces while increasing connectivity between the art and gardens components of the Museum’s mission. Lead the garden team in maintaining historic gardens to drive year-round attendance. Further beautify the Cummer Campus by expanding the gardens, integrating art, and driving garden-related programming, including opportunities within the building’s footprint. Curate annual exhibition(s) that introduce art into the landscape and landscape into the galleries. Leverage the gardens for the betterment of the community and share them with visitors in engaging and inspiring ways.

  • Support the Museum’s mission, vision, and values by exhibiting the following behaviors: excellence and competence, collaboration, innovation, respect of individual, commitment to our community, and accountability and ownership.
  • Serve as the primary champion for the Museum’s garden-related activities and resources. Position the landscape as a core asset: provide a sound basis for managing and presenting the Cummer landscape that is both inspiring and fiscally aligned.
  • Implement and manage the Cultural Landscape Management Plan (CLMP), which includes the ongoing curation, stewardship, management, and maintenance of these spaces. Balance historic preservation, aesthetic quality, diverse public use, functionality, maintainability, and sustainability to frame a vision for the future of the landscape that is harmonious with its past.
  • Establish and maintain high horticultural standards across the entire Cummer landscape; address the entire Cummer campus as a managed system of heritage, visitor experience, and application of best practices. Inspire and manage a committed team of professional and volunteer gardeners who maintain the campus to high standards using environmentally-friendly practices. Grow volunteer and intern corps.
  • Incorporate sustainability at every level of treatment, stewardship, management, and maintenance.
  • Annually curate opportunities to populate the campus with art in the Weaver Sculpture Garden and beyond, and lead projects that bring the outdoors into gallery spaces.
  • Collaborate with Education and Events & Programs Departments to identify opportunities for programming and interpretation for the gardens and living collections.
  • Connect with donors, special interest groups, regional and national resources, and others to raise the Museum’s profile in this area.
  • Research, write, and present in written and oral form information on the gardens and garden/environmental/artistic points of intersection.
  • Working with the garden staff and contractors, manage and maintain the plant collections in the Cummer Gardens, including installation, care, pest identification and control, and, as appropriate, propagation.
  • Act as the staff liaison with Gardens & Grounds Committee.
  • Establish and maintain high horticultural standards and practices; provide direction, training, and motivation for the garden staff, interns, and volunteers.
  • Develop, maintain, and promote positive and professional relationships with internal staff, volunteers, members, vendors, contractors, and the general public.
  • Work with Chief Curator to develop and manage garden budgets.
  • Other job-related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Flexibility and respect for cultural diversity
  • Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, horticulture, or related field
  • Minimum 4-years experience in management position
  • Previous experience in a museum, historic landscape, or like environment preferred
  • Demonstrated knowledge with Zone 9A plants and conditions preferred
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint); Adobe Suite, CAD or similar programs preferred
  • Ability to provide superior customer service
  • Ability to communicate effectively and with diplomacy when interacting with vendors, staff, volunteers, and the public in both large and intimate settings
  • Self-starter with strong problem solving skills and the ability to make informed decisions
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to handle and prioritize detailed projects simultaneously and carry them through to completion with minimal supervision
  • Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals
  • Ability to succeed working independently and collaboratively
  • Ability to calculate figures and amounts
  • Willingness to work flexible hours as needed for events/programs
  • Valid Florida driver’s license or ability to acquire one within 30 days of employment

Physical Demands/Work Environment:

  • Must be able to regularly lift/move up to 10 pounds, frequently lift/move up to 25 pounds, and occasionally lift/move up to 50 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.
  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions.

Qualified applicants send cover letter, resume and salary requirements to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Attn: Human Resources Department, 829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204 or jobs@cummermuseum.org.