We are so grateful for our awesome docents who donate so much of their time to the Museum. This month we want to highlight Candace Bridgewater, who has been volunteering at the Museum for four years. Thank you Candance for your generous contribution of time to help the education programs continue to flourish. If you see her around the Museum, please thank her for her service!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My first visit to the Cummer probably was when I was taking a post-grad art history course at UNF in the late 80s. When I see current college students wandering the galleries with notebooks now I take pleasure in their introduction to this wonderful world.
Why did you want to be a docent and how long have you been with the Museum?
I began coming to the museum more often once I had grandchildren so their enjoyment was an inspiration to become a docent to help other children see what mine experienced. Since I love gardening I considered becoming a garden volunteer, but after my first docent training class four years ago I realized I love the art learning process too much to give that up.
What is your favorite part of this job?
When I lead a group of little children through the doors into Ninah Cummer’s garden and hear their gasps of surprise and amazement I am more than delighted to be a docent. Each of us who talks about the family history while standing under the Cummer Oak and looking over the Italian Garden feels an integral part of keeping the Cummer magic alive.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t generously donating your time to the Museum?
My husband Erle and I grew up in Athens, Ohio, a university town that offered ample art and theater opportunities to young residents. We began dating at fourteen and fifteen and together we enjoy art museums and botanical gardens wherever we travel. We love going to NYC and London and still take a grandchild along.
Outside of the museum much of my time is taken up trying to get the Lymphedema Treatment Act passed in the US Congress. I’m one of millions of breast cancer ‘thrivers’ who has the swelling of lymphedema as a result of the successful treatment. Knowing the importance of compression to keep my arm at a manageable size (as do other Cummer docents) I am a strong advocate for the bill that will ensure Medicare coverage for compression.
If you know a cancer patient you might want to consider supporting HR 1608 with a simple pre-written letter to your Congressperson at https://lymphedematreatmentact.org/ and share the information with others.
I’m grateful for the time I spend with all the fine people, staff and volunteers, at the Cummer Museum and that I’ve been able to add to their contributions to ensure its strong future.