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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for October, 2012

Painting Class with Artist Marie Dyer at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 31st


November 10, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


     Artist Marie Dyer, best known for her vivid floral and still-life paintings, will teach participants how to transform a piece of unfinished canvas into a tropical and practical floor covering. No prior painting experience is necessary.


     Registration is required. Materials included. Cost: Edison Ford Members $70; non-members $75. 

Garden Talk – Growing and Using Citrus

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 30th

November 10, 9:00 a.m.

     Fall is the season to plant citrus in Southwest Florida. The Edison family enjoyed growing citrus in their gardens and would eat, sell and ship their Florida citrus north.

      Join Edison Ford horticulturists and learn how to plant and use heirloom citrus varieties including meyer lemons, calamondins, kumquats and many other heirloom citrus.

     Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE; non-members $5. Participants will receive 20% off in the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.


November President’s Update Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 29th

     For the past decade, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates has undertaken and completed almost $14 million in restoration to all of the Edison and Ford historic buildings and gardens. The projects have won many national awards … but we are not done yet, and the work ahead this year will be very interesting.

     This year we will focus on the Edison Ford Museum which had its earliest beginnings in the mid 1960’s when the historic site first opened to the public. The Museum building was added onto every decade to accommodate the growing collection of inventions, artifacts and program areas. Today, the building includes 15,000 square feet of gallery and exhibit space.

     Improvements will include new lighting systems (new LED gallery lighting system) and a new 50×25 foot porch which will open into the Heritage Garden on the west side of the Museum.

     As has been our practice, we will again remain open throughout the work ahead. Visitors and Members will be able to track our progress with a completion date for all of the improvements set for Fall, 2013.

     New exhibits are also in the works for the Museum to include a new Botanical Laboratory exhibit and an exhibit on Fishing & Boating.  In fact, we have already started installing components of the Botanical Laboratory exhibit with the installation this month of a very intricate ‘diorama’ of the Laboratory. The diorama is 1/18 size … and includes lab work stations, machine shop equipment, research office, darkroom and even a tiny replica of the giant goldenrod herbarium specimen from the 1920s. It was created by artist, Stephen Hayford, who began work with Chief Curator Alison Giesen more than a year ago to carefully replicate the historic operation of the building.








Hayford is a talented craftsman with a  unique skill set and has created Star Wars-themed diorama images for Lucasfilm, Ltd. and is employed by museums throughout the nation. In addition to his painstaking recreation of the Laboratory building and work areas, he also employed other specialty artists. An example is the miniature Thomas Edison working in the laboratory, another is the tiny blown glass laboratory vessels produced by miniaturist Ferenc J. Albert who also worked in the research laboratory glass industry.

     It is a fascinating project, and we plan that the completion of the entire lab exhibit will be completed by Edison’s birthday in February with other components installed in the months ahead.

     Work on the Fishing & Boating exhibit also began last year with the completion of a 15 foot replica wooden skiff which was built by Edison Ford carpenter (and shipwright) Jack Davis. He headed a group of sea scouts who learned to build the skiff using only hand tools and won the wooden boat building contest in Lee County. The exhibit will include the skiff and maps, mounted fish, equipment and of course, photos and stories about our favorite fishing families, the Edisons and Fords.

Holiday Nights 2012

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 28th

Edison Ford Holiday Nights

  • December 1 – 30, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

 Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, a Southwest Florida family tradition for 38 years.

  •  November 30 – Edison & Ford Preview Party, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
  • December 1 – opening night
  • December 16 – Artists & Authors Night
  • December 30 – closing night
  • Nightly Holiday Tradition Tours with Site Historian at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
  • Edison Ford era musical performances on select nights
  • Santa visits on select nights
  • Nightly musical performance in Edison Ford public gardens (check on-line to see who is performing)
  • Holiday parties can be scheduled throughout the event with special rates for Edison Ford Members

 Remember: Edison Ford Members receive complimentary “Guest” tickets for Holiday Nights and discounts in the Museum Store, Cottage Shoppe and Creative Cottage. Edison Ford Members can pickup their guest tickets beginning November 1, 2012 at the ticket counter. Members must present their current membership card in order to receive their Holiday Nights guest tickets.


November Education Programs

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 28th

Emerging Inventors/Early Learners

November 1 – Creative Colors and November 15 – Gobble Gobble, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

     Edison Ford Emerging Inventors/Early Learners class for one – three year old children and their parents, grandparents or other family members and includes socializing with others, education activities, story time, singing, crafts and exploring the homes, gardens and museum at the Edison Ford. Edison Ford Members $5; non-members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.



Homeschool – Designing Submersibles

November 5 or 16, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (student’s grades 1st – 6th)

     Homeschool students will learn about density and volume while building a submersible that meets the required standards. Students and their parents can enroll in a two hour program with curriculum that follows the Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards.

     Pre-visit curriculum materials will be emailed to registered families. Limited space remains, pre-registration required. Edison Ford Members $10; non-members $20 (one adult, one child) additional $10 per child.


Etiquette at Edison Ford

November 10, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

     Etiquette at Edison Ford is for children ages 6 – 12 and includes a two hour lesson in timeless etiquette and social skills. Children will learn proper dining etiquette during a three course meal, proper introductions and much more. Each student will receive a workbook and certificate of completion.

      Class is taught by Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes at the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the nation.

      Registration is required. Cost: Edison Ford Members $65; non-members $75.



Books in the Edison Ford Museum Store

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 27th

     The Edison Ford Museum Store has a wide assortment of books available for purchase on Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as well as a wide variety of books on gardening, science fair projects, history and architecture.

      Some staff favorites include:


Wheels for the World by Douglas Brinkley

   “Interesting look into the Ford Motor Company and the people involved without getting too technical.”  Mike Cosden, Curatorial Assistant




Usborne Look inside Science

   “Fun pop-up book teaching elementary students about science.”  Glen Beitmen, Wild Wizard, Edison Ford



Edison Ford Quote Book, Edison & Ford Winter Estates

   “My favorite treasure … There is always something there that ties the thoughts of two great minds to something relevant … like Edison’s work ethic … Everything comes to him (or her) who hustles while he waits.”   Chris Pendleton, President & CEO




  Guide to Florida Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Robert Bowden

   “When I need additional information this is the book I go to! Great information on fruit trees and edible landscape plants.”

     Todd Roy, Horticulturist and Garden Shoppe Manager


The Edisons of Fort Myers by Tom Smoot

   “I appreciate how Smoot presents his information as it is very clear what is taken directly from the historical record.” Alison Giesen, Chief Curator





ACDC by Tom McNichol


   “Interesting, easy to read book about AC/alternating current and DC/direct current. One of Museum Store’s best sellers.”   Patti Wensel, Museum Store and Cottage Shoppe Manager





All books can be purchased at the Edison Ford Museum Store or click HERE to visit our on-line store.

Annual Clothesline Quilt Show and Airing of the Quilts

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 17th

October 27, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

     Edison Ford and the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild will be “airing their quilts” on clotheslines in front of Seminole Lodge, the winter estate of Thomas and Mina Edison. 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, live Edison era music will be performed, and a collection of antique cars will be on display on the Ford lawn.

     Edison Ford Member FREE; non-members $5.












Annual Membership Celebration

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 16th

October 21, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. (rain date October 28)

     Join us Sunday, October 21, at 2:00 p.m. for the Edison Ford Annual Membership Celebration and Meeting. Enjoy a behind the scene lab tour with Chris Pendleton, President & CEO; Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Edison and Ford homes with Alison Giesen, Chief Curator; or Garden Tour in the Moonlight Garden with Horticulturists Debbie Hughes and Todd Roy.

      At 3:30 p.m. enjoy refreshments in the Edison Caretaker’s House, receive the 2012 Annual Report and hear what’s ahead for the upcoming year at Edison Ford from Chris Pendleton and Board of Trustees Chair, Sass Edwards.

      RSVP to Darlene Hermey, Membership Coordinator at 239-335-3674.

Not a member yet?  Call Darlene or visit http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/get-involved/membership-to-the-edison-ford-winter-estates/

Homeschool – Designing Bridges

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 13th

● October 15 or 19, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (student’s grades 1st – 6th)

     Homeschool students will learn about force, motion, gravity, earth landforms, landscapes, as well as different types of bridges and will design their own bridge. Students and their parents can enroll in a two hour program with curriculum that follows the Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards.

    Pre-visit curriculum materials will be emailed to registered families. Registration required. Edison Ford Members $10; non-members $20 (one adult, one child) additional $10 per child.


Edison Ford Monthly Volunteer Lecture & Meeting

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 6th

● October 9, 9:30 a.m. – South Florida Water Management District Building

     Edison Ford curatorial and retail staff will present a program that includes their favorite books as well as new books available in the Edison Ford stores. The program will also include Lee County Literacy Buddies coordinator, Robin Getz. 

     Meetings and lectures are open to current Edison Ford volunteers as well as prospective volunteers and the public. For additional information contact the Volunteer Department at 239-334-7419.