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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for September, 2010

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – October 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 21st

October at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Estates Clothesline Quilt Show and Airing of the Quilts, and the First Annual Estates Member Celebration, as well as a variety of other special programs, exhibit openings and activities throughout the month of October.  The October schedule of programs and events include:

Estates Botanical Tours, Tuesdays and Fridays Beginning October 1, 2010
The Estates Botanical Tour will be on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 AM.  The tour includes a walk through the historical gardens of the Edison and Ford Estates with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Estates Propagating Nursery.  The tour is never the same twice as it changes frequently to highlight plants currently blooming or fruiting.  With the change in flowers and fruits comes a variety of aromas for tour goers to experience, from Chanel No. 5 to buttered popcorn to bubblegum.  The tour is $24 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-12, and FREE for Estates Members.  Visitors may upgrade their ticket for $6 to include a self-guided audio wand tour of the historic buildings and Museum. Group Botanical Tours are available at a discounted price and may be scheduled throughout the week based on availability.    To schedule a group botanical tour call the Estates at 239-334-7419. 
NEW Exhibit:  “Discovering Southwest Florida with Thomas Edison & Henry Ford” 
The Estates newest exhibit located at Southwest Florida International Airport features a collection of historic photographs of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s favorite pastimes in Southwest Florida accompanied with contemporary photographs and artifacts from the Estates collection.  The exhibit is available as a traveling exhibit at no cost to other museums, libraries, galleries, visitor centers and other public spaces to show the history, heritage and modern day views of
Florida through the eyes of two of Southwest Florida famous winter residents, Edison and Ford.  The traveling exhibit is funded by the
Lee County Tourism Development Council and is available by calling the Estates Curatorial Department at 239-334-7419.    

Sneak Peek Tours Return, Thursdays in October at 9:30 AM
Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required.

Edison Inventors Association Meeting, October 20, 7PM
Meeting once a month at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the organization serves the inventors in the community by providing education and networking opportunities.  For move information contact 239-275-IDEA (4332).

First Annual Estates Member Celebration, October 22, 6 PM – 8:00 PM
Dramatic change, growth, award-winning restoration and dedication to program development have marked the past four years since the new non-profit corporation, Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc., began its governance of the National Register Historic Site and the Estates is celebrating their members and many achievements with its First Annual Estates Member Celebration.  Members and invited guests are invited to join the Estates as we unveil the new website, introduce new programs and distribute the first Estates Progress Report.  Registration required. Event is FREE to Estates Members.  To become an Estates Member call 239-334-7419.

Home School: “Animals & Classifications,” October 22, 1PM – 3PM
Homeschoolers will learn how animals are classified and explore mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and arachnids.  Curriculum follows the Florida Sunshine objectives for learning.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child. 

Quilting and Stitching Demonstration, October 23, 10 AM – 1 PM
Quilters from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Florida Embroidery Guild will demonstrate quilting and stitching and will be available to answer questions on techniques and care.   In the early 1900’s Henry Ford collected, celebrated and displayed quilts and other historical objects. Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Home and Garden Tour ticket.

Clothesline Quilt Show and Airing of Quilts,  October 30, 10 AM – 2 PM
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild will be “airing their quilts” on clotheslines at the Estates.  The tradition of “airing” quilts dates back to Colonial America when women would take quilts out of summer storage and “air” them in autumn for use in winter.  In addition to the contemporary quilts available for show and sale, a variety of antique quilts will be on display in the Ford garage, live Edison era music will be performed, and a collection of antique cars will be on display on the Ford lawn.
Estates Members FREE; non members $5. 

Mark your calendars: Upcoming Estates Events

• Young Scientists & Inventors Fair November 16, 2010
OPEN TO HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS, participation is free

• Homeschool Science Fair Project Workshops Tuesdays, September 28, October 12, and October 26, 10 AM – 12 PM.  Cost:  $10 Estates Members, $15 non members.

• Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Preview Party, December 8, 6 PM                                               
Kick off the holiday season with the Estates annual Holiday Party at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates.  Guests will enjoy a special preview of the Estates annual event, food and beverages by the river, live music and much more.  Estates members, $60; non members $75.  Space is limited, to RSVP call 239-334-7419.

• Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, December 9 – January 1, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 9 – January 1

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 14th

Spend the holidays with one of Southwest Florida’s holiday traditions, the 35th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Edison & Ford Holiday Nights attracts visitors from throughout the world annually to view the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, and the recently restored Edison and Ford historic homes. 
The theme for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has always been a combination of historical decorations amidst the orchids, exotic trees and plantings that fill the gardens.  Visitors will have the option of a self guided tour or guided tour (6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).  Guided tours include the historic homes, gardens, lab and museum with an historic site interpreter and are available on a first come, first serve basis.  
This year there will be events including the artist and craftsmen exhibits and appearances in the “Creative Cottage” as well as book signings and demonstrations located in the Edison Caretaker’s House;  nightly entertainment by local school and community groups; Santa visits; Horse and Wagon Rides; and a “Children’s Tree Trail.”  The “Trail” will be a veritable forest of lighted trees with handmade ornaments from Lee County students and is FREE to the public. 
During the holidays the homes of Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford will be open nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The event also includes special exhibitions, nightly performances of dance, instrumental and choral music (by area groups and schools) and holiday items in the “Creative Cottage”, Museum Store, Garden Shoppe and the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.  The Estates Museum and Edison’s Lab will be open nightly as well as the Estates Banyan Café for refreshments.  Tickets for a self guided tour are $15 for adults and $1 for children (6-12); guided tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children (6-12).  Groups may schedule guided or unguided tours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will receive discounted group rates.  In addition, the Estates will be offering Lee County residents special “hometown discounts” on December 9, 10, 11, 12, 2010.

Edison’s Lab and the Muckers

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 10th

There’s a new way to experience the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates while the 1928 building has a new roof put on during the next few weeks.  A group of historic interpreters, who call themselves the “Edison & Ford Muckers,” will be presenting hands on demonstrations and lab presentations throughout the day with some of the famous friends’ favorite inventions.  This includes inventions such as the light bulb, the phonograph, the automobile assembly line with a replica Ford Model –T, and making a rubber-like polymer.

The Muckers hands-on demos are presented in the Estates Museum and are interesting for all ages.  A hundred years ago, Edison called his group of laboratory and invention workers, the Muckers, and encouraged their discoveries.  Today kids especially enjoy trying on a lab coat and making the polymer that Edison created in his laboratory next door.  Most of the Lab equipment has been brought into the Museum during restoration including test tubes, extraction equipment, grinders and other artifacts.  Also a film will be shown about the Edison, Ford, and Firestone’s quest for rubber which was based in Fort Myers, Florida.

During the next year, the Edison Lab will be undergoing about a million dollar restoration which has been funded by a variety of state, federal and local grants.  “During most of the project, the building will remain open to the public so that they can watch the restoration as it progresses.  There will be times when we will have to close for safety reasons, and that’s when the ‘Muckers’ Hands-On Demos” will be really important,” says spokesperson, Lisa Sbuttoni.  “That’s also when we will have free return passes available.”
With the Laboratory restoration underway and more than $12 million in improvements already under its belt, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is completing nearly ten years of restoration to a dozen different residential buildings and structures including the 1915 Edison Portland Cement Swimming Pool. 

30th Annual Black Maria Film Festival: Coming to Southwest Florida in March

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 7th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Edison State College and BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island will host the 30th Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival for a fifth season.  The award winning festival will be held on March 18, 2011 at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, March 19, 2011 at Edison State College, and BIG ARTS on March 21, 2011. 

The Festival is hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country and showcases independent and experimental film and video.  The films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award winning films and videos.  The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying festival for short films.

Tickets will go on sale January 2011.  For more information and updates visit the following websites Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.efwefla.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison  BIG ARTS at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at www.blackmariafilmfestival.org .
The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.

Estates OPEN Labor Day!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 3rd

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be open Labor Day, Monday, September 6th from 9 AM until 5:30 PM.
Programs include:
• Estates NEW Young Inventor’s Program at 1:00 PM, offering families an interactive, hands-on inventions experience focusing on children’s science activities
• Tours throughout the day of the homes, garden and lab of the two inventors
• Museum demonstrations throughout the day include the Edison phonograph every half hour, and other Museum presentations including antique cars and the Edison Research Laboratory. 

Estates members are FREE.  In addition to providing the opportunity to explore the winter retreats of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the site also offers opportunities for the public to enjoy its park-like environment for special events, weddings, corporate functions, and art and musical presentations as well as educational programs throughout the year.