Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

John Burroughs and the “Vagabonds”

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 7, 2018

John Burroughs and Thomas Edison

In 1914 popular writer and naturalist John Burroughs arrived with his friend Henry Ford to visit Thomas Edison for the first time at his estate in Fort Myers. Having grown up working on a family farm in New York, Burroughs had long cultivated an interest in nature and enjoyed the outdoors. Burroughs was a member of early expeditions with Ford and Edison into the Everglades, where the group enjoyed discovering nature and some time away from hectic everyday life.

These early Everglades adventures evolved into camping trips across the country, many of which included John Burroughs. The inquisitive Thomas Edison spent many hours enjoying nature with Burroughs, tapping into the naturalist’s vast knowledge of plants and animals.

Burroughs chronicled the trips in scrapbooks which included journals and photos of the self-described “vagabonds.” Visit our “Into the Wild” exhibit in the Edison Ford museum to learn more.


Edison Ford Membership – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 24, 2017

How do I become a Member?

membership cardThere are many ways you can become a Edison Ford Member! You can purchase a membership at the Edison Ford ticket counter, at any of our retail shoppes at Edison Ford, at The Marina at Edison Ford at Pinchers, at our Edison Ford Shoppe at the Bell Tower Shops, online, or call the Membership Department at 239-334-7419 to purchase a membership over the phone.

What do I receive as an Edison Ford Member?

Each level has its own benefits. Review them carefully in our Membership brochure or on our website so that you are able to purchase the Membership level that best fits you and your family.

How will I receive updates on Member Events and activities at Edison Ford?

We send out a monthly newsletter, so you will be included on our mailing list, or you can choose to be added to our e-mail list or both! You can always go to our website to see the latest events and programs at Edison Ford.

How can I find out when my Membership expires and how can I renew my Membership?

Your Membership expiration date is printed on your membership card. You will be sent a renewal notice and you can either fill out the renewal form, renew your membership online, renew your membership at the Edison Ford ticket counter, or by calling the Membership Department at 239-334-7419.

What if I leave my Membership card at home when I visit Edison Ford?

Just go to the ticket counter and they will be able to look you up in the membership database.

What if I lose my Membership card?

No worries! Just call the Membership Department at 239-334-7419 and we will issue you a replacement card.

Can I loan my family and friends my Membership Card?

We welcome family and friends to Edison Ford and encourage them to become a member once they see all the wonderful benefits of your Membership. However, Membership cards are non-transferable.

Once I become a Member of Edison Ford, how do I check in?

Simply present your Membership card when visiting Edison Ford.

As a Member, will I only be able to take guided tours?

As a member you have many choices! You can take a self-guided audio tour, a guided tour (a $10 upgrade for members), or just simply stroll the grounds and just enjoy Edison Ford! Members can also take our Inside-the-Homes tour held every Thursday morning, where you actually get to go inside the homes with an Edison Ford Curator. This special tour is FREE to Members (one time) and reservations are suggested by calling the Membership Department at 239-334-7419.

Where do I get my reciprocating museum and garden admission tickets?

You will receive the lists of reciprocating museum and gardens in your Membership packet. We suggest you call the reciprocating site a few days before your visit to see what their protocol is. Then when you visit just present your valid Edison Ford Membership card at the reciprocal site.

Who do I call if I have questions concerning my membership?

You can call the Membership Department at 239-334-7419. The Membership Department is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Can I purchase a Gift Membership for a family member or friend?

Absolutely! You can purchase a gift membership here at Edison Ford, or by calling the Membership Department to purchase one over the phone, or go to our website.


Edison Ford Museum Store, Ford Cottage Shoppe and Edison Ford Shoppe

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 23, 2017

There is always something new, exciting and educational in each one of the Edison Ford stores.

The mainstay of our stores is always our great book collection. We pride ourselves on this and we have many followers. The books include fiction and non-fiction, unusual and hard-to-find, or just plain fun to read. Some of our new favorites include:


A new happening for the Edison Ford Shoppe at the Bell Tower Shops is a section of vintage Florida books curated by rare book collector Brady Vogt. We expect to have completed this section by mid-January, so come prepared to browse and take home some real treasures. Edison Ford Members always receive a 10% discount.

NEW E-Ticketing and Electronic Registration Options at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 21, 2017

click-to-purchase-e-ticketVisitors to Edison Ford have an exciting and convenient new way to purchase tickets! E-Ticketing is now available online here.

Currently, tickets for Audio Tours, Museum & Lab tours, and Member Guest tickets for these select tours can be purchased. Visitors simply need to present proof of purchase at the Information Booth, and they can bypass the lines entirely.

Electronic registration will soon be available for enrollment to Summer Camp and other programs, offering another convenient and time-saving option for Edison Ford program participants.

Visiting Phonograph Expert to Present at Edison Ford Museum

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 1, 2017

• January 3 – 11:00 a.m.; January 6 – 1:30 p.m.; January 10 – 3:00 p.m.
john kurdylaEdison Phonograph expert, John Paul Kurdyla, will present special phonograph programs at Edison Ford in the Music & Movie gallery.

A resident of Padua, Italy, Kurdyla’s expertise and engaging demonstrations when music was magichave been a favorite of Edison Ford visitors for several years. Kurdyla has one of the largest private collections of phonographs, gramophones and Edison memorabilia and is considered an expert on Edison recorded sound.

In addition to his phonograph expertise, Kurdyla authored the book “When Music Was Magic,” available only through Edison Ford. He has presented his knowledge on 10 Italian National Television (RAI) shows.

Edison Ford School Break Camp – Grades 1st – 6th

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 30, 2016

● January 3 – 6, Engineering and Design, 9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Students can join the Wild Wizard for an exciting week of exploration and learning at Edison Ford.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $160; non-members $200. For more information or to register call Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar, at 239-334-7419 or email Leeanne at lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.


Edison Ford Gift Card for the Holidays

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 23, 2016

gift card backGift cards make a wonderful holiday gift and can be used to purchase a membership, admission tickets, items in the museum store and shoppes, Director’s Tours and educational classes. Gift cards are available at all of the locations. You can even purchase an Edison Ford gift card online to give to friends or family member.

As always, Edison Ford Members receive a 10% discount in all our Shoppes.

Edison Ford Stores Ready for Gift Giving

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 22, 2016

Museum Store, Ford Cottage Shoppe, Garden Shoppe
and Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower

ford-cottage-holiday-nights-christmasEdison Ford Museum Store and Shoppes are ready for holiday gift giving with interesting books, childrens items, art and craft items, hand-painted art and wearables, and lots of ornaments. Back by popular demand, the Holiday Nights t-shirt is back with a great new painting of the Edison Banyan tree bedecked with sparkly lights. The t-shirt will be available in male, female and children’s sizes.
The original drawing shows the original work of Edison Ford Conservator and Artist, Megan Kissinger.

President’s Message – Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 17, 2016

The annual celebration for our members and patrons was a great event this year! As the photos show, the celebration was attended by hundreds of members, patrons and leaders from throughout the region who came to celebrate our 10th year as a non-profit organization and also the grand opening of the Edison Ford River Pavilion. Trustees were joined by the pavilion project architects  Parker/Mudgett/Smith, AIA, Casey Construction, City Manager Saeed Kazemi, and Councilman Mike Flanders for the ribbon cutting.


Membership of individuals and businesses provides a great deal of support for Edison Ford, in involvement on the site, in donation of in-kind goods and services and financially. In fact, financially the membership and contribution program provides about $300,000 annually of the support for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates education and preservation programs. December is our traditional time to ask for donations to continue this program of support.

Your contributions are entirely tax deductible as Edison Ford is classified as an exempt 501(c)(3) educational charity by the IRS. Donations may be earmarked for specific projects including student scholarships, memorial trees or a myriad of other restricted projects.

Please complete the donation form and send it to the Development Office at Edison Ford, or call Nancy Achter, Development Manager at 239-335-3678 for more information.

Holiday Nights Decorating Teams 2016

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 16, 2016

More than 100 decorators turned out for the installation of Holiday Nights at Edison Ford. They represented over a dozen different businesses, groups, and organizations. Over a several day period, they worked tirelessly on the historically correct decorations under the watchful eye of Mike Cosden, Vice President of Interpretation, and the Curatorial Department. Thanks to everyone who lent their talents and time!

American Institute of Architects Florida Southwest, Bennett’s Fresh Roast, Edison Park Neighborhood Association, Edison Festival of Lights, Florida Power and Light, Florida Weekly, Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, General Electric, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Hope Hospice, LCEC, Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Norris Home Furnishings, The Open Door Shops on Hendry Street, Sanibel-Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, Shell Point Retirement Community, St. James City Volunteers with Brinson Family, Thomas A. Edison Congregational Church, WGCU Public Media, Winn-Dixie.