Sunday, August 13, 2006


Cummer Museum and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

There's a gallery of a small group of images from a recent trip to Jacksonville and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens there at the link above.

Guards were pretty aggressive about being "camera police" (even without flash) inside the museum, even though I'd called in advance and was assured that I would be able to shoot everything except the traveling exhibit-- then was told something else entirely after I got there and had paid my admission--so I spent most of my camera time in the gardens.

Had an amazingly silly conversation with one of the guards. On the road, I use a Targus case for my Nikon. It is backpack-shaped, and holds the body and the three lenses I use most often and very little else. It is smaller than my everyday handbag. I shove my wallet in a side pocket and clip my car keys on a D-ring and lock my handbag in the trunk of my car. When I entered the museum, I allowed the guards to inspect the contents. Satisfied that I didn't have burglary tools or incendiary devices in there, I was allowed to pass. After being told in three different galleries inside the museum that I was not permitted to use my camera there (contrary to the brochure, website and phone call info) I stashed the body back in the case and proceeded to tour the museum sans camera for a while.

A few minutes later, I was stopped by a guard.
Guard: "We don't allow backpacks in the museum"
Me: "This is my camera case. I submitted it for inspection at the front desk" I unzipped it and displayed the contents.
Guard: "Well, you can't put the strap over your shoulder like that."
Me: "Do you allow women with shoulder bags and people with diaper bags?" I ask, glancing around the room at several people with those very items.
Guard: "Of Course!"
Me: "I see. No, actually, I don't. This bag is smaller than my regular handbag. In fact, it's much smaller than the shoulder bag of that woman over there. What is the problem? The SHAPE?"
Guard: "It's a backpack. "
Me: "No, it's a relatively small camera case that happens to be shaped like a canned ham. But I'll be happy to carry it by the other handle if that would make you happier."
Guard: "That would be best"

Give me a break. I realize that most museum guards are volunteers and may not be rocket scientists, but the difference between the intent of the rule and the execution is huge. I can only assume that the no-backpack rule is to discourage theft, yet women with handbags nearly the size of my regular carry-on luggage go unquestioned.

Note to photographers-- the permanent collection isn't all that great, they're overly fond of putting sculpture behind glass, and they won't let you in more than half the museum with a camera, even if your flash is suppressed. Lighting in the few galleries where they will permit you to shoot is very subdued and very yellow.

Skip the museum and do the gardens on a modestly sunny day-- spring would be best, as there are lots of rhodies and azaleas-- the summer garden was waning and the upkeep on the fountains and reflecting pools is less than impressive, but at peak bloom, the gardens are probably gorgeous, in a slightly shabby chic way.

The formal gardens, designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman in 1931, are a lovely little oasis in the city. If you remember my photos in the spring from Stan Hywet (the Seiberling estate outside Akron, OH) she was the landscape architect for those, as well. Interesting lady... Jacksonville-CMOA Posted by Picasa

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?