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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for August, 2013

President’s Update ~ September 2013

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 30th

president report     This September the Edison & Ford Winter Estates finishes up its 7th year as an independent non-profit business. We have come a  long way since we first leased the site from the city in 2006. Steady growth but also economic stability marked this year for us.

      The overall change since 2006 has been phenomenal; these days we take it all in stride adding continued excellence to the visitor experience as well as our program for the schools and ongoing stewardship of the historic buildings and gardens.

membership card and lanyard      Our membership is approaching 7,000 in total with about 2,000 member groups.  We love to see the membership lanyards on our visitors as we know that they are returning participants for tours and programs. We are now adding a special discount rate for teachers (Pre-K thru 12th grade with valid ID) who will receive 20% off on all membership level fees. It is a great program as it includes a very innovative reciprocal component that extends free admission to hundreds of other museums, historic sites and gardens.

      With the historic buildings and gardens all restored, our activity on-site is now for regular cyclical conservation. It is hard to believe that we are now five years beyond the initial major $10 million restoration. For this year, that will mean our first major work to the roofs of all of the historic buildings, as well as painting the Edison main home and guest house. As usual, the property will remain open throughout the work and will be open for all to watch and learn.

      The continued improvement to our Edison Ford Museum will be a major focus in the months ahead with the construction and expansion of the Museum West Porch scheduled for this fall and the new Friendship Path II scheduled for early 2014 in conjunction with the new Museum West Porch.  We are excited about this because the community will have a chance to create their friendship stone for the porch area (and to take home).


Edison & Ford Winter Estates Open Labor Day, September 2

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 28th

FORT MYERS, FLA. (August 27, 2013) – The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard will be open Labor Day, Monday, September 2 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
labor day
Programs include:
•           Tours throughout the day with Edison Ford Site Historians, of the homes, garden and lab of the two inventors
•           Audio tours available in English, German, French and Spanish
•           Museum demonstrations throughout the day include the Edison phonograph every half hour, and other Museum presentations including antique cars and the Edison Research Laboratory.

Edison Ford 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.

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford 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.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Daily Schedule For September at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 26th

museum ford exhibit • Daily Tours

      Every day of the week visitors have the option of an Historian-Led Tour, Audio Tour in English, German, Spanish or French, or a Lab and Museum Tour.

 • Historian-Led German Language Tour – Wednesdays – 10:30 a.m.

      Historian led tour of homes, gardens, lab and museum in German. Cost: Adults $25, Children (ages 6-12) $15. Tours in French and Spanish are available for groups with advance reservations.

behind the scenes sept 2013 • Behind-the-Scenes Tour – Thursdays – 10:30 a.m.

      A Behind-the-Scenes Tour takes you inside and up close in the Edison and Ford homes led by curatorial  staff, includes the homes, gardens, lab and museum. Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE; non-members $40. Space is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-334-7419.

 • Edison Ford Mucker/Young Inventor’s Tour – Saturdays  – 11:00 a.m.

      Children of all ages will have fun while participating in hands-on science activities based on the inventions of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Activities include an assembly line, phonograph demonstrations and much more.  Cost: Edison Ford Members FREE, non-members Adults $12, Children (ages 6-12) $5.

 • Inside the Edison Lab/Museum Hands-on Science – Sundays  – 2:00 p.m.

      A behind-the-scenes program inside the lab and museum. This “insider” program includes demonstrations with inventions inside the museum with hands-on activities featuring the phonograph, ediphone, movies, making rubber polymer, batteries, the assembly line and other inventive activities.   Cost: Edison Ford Members: $10 donation per family; non-members: Adults $30 and Children $5 (ages 6 – 12), audio wand included. One adult required for every two children. Participants will receive a 10% discount on all “invention items,” including books, science kits, and toys. Groups can register for special times and rates with advance reservation.

Emerging Inventors ~ Registration Open for Fall Classes

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 23rd

emerging inventors sept 2013     Edison Ford Emerging Inventors Early Learning Program for one – three year old children and their parents, grandparents and other family members begins this fall. The program includes socializing, education activities, story time, singing, crafts and exploring the homes, gardens and museum at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Each session will introduce science through activities and time to tend the Emerging Inventors Vegetable Garden!

Children and parents are encouraged to bring lunch or a snack to enjoy on the grounds after the program.

      The Emerging Inventors classes will begin October 2013 and are held on the first and third Thursday of each month (except January and March 2014), 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Parents may select specific dates or all dates.

 • October 3 and 17 – Music, Sound & Movement

     Learn the first words recorded and played back on Edison’s phonograph, make different sounds with instruments, see sound and more. This class will have everyone dancing to science!

  • November 7 and 21 – Electricity & Energy

     Emerging Inventors experiment with electricity and energy through hands-on activities and demonstrations that will make their hair stand up and paper dance.

emerging inventors2 sept 2013• December 5 and 19 – Smarts In Art & Science

     Emerging Inventors learn colors and science through rainbows and weather while experimenting with polymer, milk, and balloons, learning about rainbows and weather.

  • January 16 – Games & Measurement

     Emerging Inventors practice numbers and counting, working alongside their parents in multiple measuring activities.

 • February 6 and 20 – Space & Earth

     Emerging Inventors learn about the sun and moon, planet earth, the four seasons, gravity and more with fun activities, including rockets.

  • March 6 – Flowers & Trees

     Emerging Inventors learn about and use all five senses in this class while discovering many flowers and trees throughout Edison Ford.

 • April 3 and 17 – Edison Chemistry

     Emerging Inventors learn about and create mixtures and solutions through multiple activities including polymer, play dough and silly putty.


     Cost: Edison Ford Members $5 (one adult, one child); non-members $15 (one adult, one child); each additional child $5. Subject to availability registration is required by calling the Edison Ford Education Department at 239-334-7419.

College Interns at Edison Ford this Summer

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 21st

    At Edison Ford there are opportunities for college students to participate in supervised academic internships in many professional fields.

      This summer our interns included:   

  • Melissa Flanjack, Public Relations, UF
  • Weston Heintz, Education, UF
  • Sarah DeYoung, Education, FSU
  • Ashley Gibbons, Public Relations, FSU
  • Alexandra Weyer, Site Historian, FGCU

Recipients of the Teaching American History Grant: 

  • Kathy Jones, Teacher, The Sanibel School
  • Lisa Johnson, Teacher, North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts

Education Programs Ahead – NEW Hands-on History Classes

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 20th

Registration Open for 2013 – 2014 Homeschool (K – 6th grades) at Edison Ford

homeschool kids     The Edison Wild Wizard returns with a new series of science, engineering and history hands-on classes that will engage students, as well as NEW hands-on history classes with Professor Pearce. Following in the footsteps of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, homeschool students will learn through creativity and critical thinking. All Edison Ford homeschool classes are based on Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards as well as Florida Common Core Science Standards. Curriculum outlines provided to all registered parents. Cost: Edison Ford Members $10; non-members $20, $10 for each additional child.  Limited spaces remain, visit our Web site for current availability.  To register call Edison Ford at 239-334-7419.

 Homeschool Science:

• Life Sciences: Bioengineering – October 7, 10, 11

Learn about organisms through a series of activities that introduce bioengineering.

  • Landforms and Landscapes – November 14, 15, 18

Learn about geotechnical engineering, erosion and deposition through activities and engineering projects.

  • Alternative Energy: Wind – December 9, 12, 13

Students become Mechanical Engineers using simple machines to make complex machines.

 • Rocks & Minerals January 9, 10, 13

Learn about the rock cycle and properties of rocks as students become Material Engineers.

 • Sights and Sounds – February 10, 13, 14

Become Optical and Sound Engineers while learning about reflection, transmission and absorption.

 • Electricity & Circuits – March 10, 13, 14

Students get hands-on with electricity, circuits, conductors, insulators and schematic designs.

 • Alternative Energy: Solar – April 7, 10, 11

Students learn about transfer of energy, conservation of energy, thermal insulators, thermal conductors and the power of the sun.

 Homeschool History:

 • Becoming a Historian – October 7, 11

Hands-on history begins with research strategies and techniques and how to research a subject.

 • Government – November 15, 18

Students will explore the formation and purpose of government throughout history.

 • Economics – December 9, 13

Students learn how economics are managed by various entities and how they have motivated and defined the modern world.

 • Citizenship – January 10, 13

Students explore the modern concept of citizenship. Rights, responsibilities, and civic duty will be discussed.

 • Early Florida: VIVA FLORIDA – February 10, 14

From Saint Augustine to Thomas Edison, students discover the rich history of Florida, America’s first frontier.

 • Modern Florida – March 10, 14

Students pull together key concepts such as government, economics, citizenship and early Florida history.

 • The History of Technology – April 7, 11

This ambitious course delves into history by recreating the experiments and inventions that changed the course of history.

Limited space still remaining, visit our Web site for current availability.  To register call Edison Ford at 239-334-7419.

Honoring 2013 Summer Education Intern, Wes Heintz

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 13th

camp intern wes heintz     Weston Heintz will begin Veterinary School at the University of Florida this fall, but for the summer of 2013, he was an integral part of the teaching team for Edison Ford Summer Inventor’s Camp, working with our teachers and about 60 students a week.

      Wes submitted his credentials for the paid internship and was awarded the position based on his academic background (double majors in Biology and Chemistry) and experience working with youth groups. It also helps that he has a real affinity for hands-on science, a love of the outdoors, and holds EMT certification.

      Thanks Wes for your great work this summer, best of luck with your continued studies and remember that all of us at Edison Ford will be expecting your continued success.




NEW Ford Exhibit Open in Edison Ford Museum

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 8th

     The Edison Ford Museum has opened a new exhibit in celebration of Henry Ford’s 150 birthday. The exhibit, Henry Ford: His Inspiration & His Impact, 150 Years of Innovation, features Ford’s contributions to the automotive industry including several of his 161 patents, a collection of historic photographs, as well as artifacts and Ford inventions. Henry Ford, 150 Years of Innovation highlights Ford’s interest in the Edison Botanic Research Corporation and includes his experiment with soy beans. The exhibit includes a replica of one of the antique American quilts from the Ford collection, as well as other items that reflect the interests of the Ford family.

      Henry Ford is most noted as the father of the automobile. He was one of the greatest innovators and inventors of our time.  At one time he was the largest producer and distributor of films, an early pioneer in sustainability and “green science,” as well as a collector, accomplished dancer, and marketer whose business practices set the standard for advertising and marketing today.

      Ford met Thomas Edison while working as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. In 1916 Ford purchased the estate right next door to Edison’s winter estate in Fort Myers. Edison, Ford and their families spent many winters together in southwest Florida, exploring, relaxing, working and innovating.

      Edison Ford is open daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (with the final tour departing at 4:00 p.m.). Visitors can enjoy winter homes, gardens and lab, as well as the Edison Ford Museum. The air conditioned, 15,000 sq. ft. museum is filled with artifacts, inventions, galleries and exhibits celebrating the lives and legacies of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

 V8 motorHenry Ford Exhibit



Edison Ford Monthly Volunteer Meeting and Program

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 6th

•  August 13, 9:30 a.m. – Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops

book randy wayne white ultimate tarpon      In 1916 Thomas Edison said, “The tarpon has put Fort Myers on the map as a fishing resort with the biggest sportsmen in the country.” Edison enjoyed tarpon fishing when visiting his winter estate. Join Edison Ford Site Historian, John Telischak and author Carlene Brennen, The Birth of Big Game Fishing who will discuss the history of tarpon fishing in southwest Florida and Edison’s love of the sport. Books available for purchase.

      Meeting and lectures are open to current Edison Ford volunteers, potential volunteers, and the public. For additional information contact the Volunteer Department at 239-334-7419.


Summer River Cruise Season Ends … Group Reservations Still Available

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 5th

      Although regular weekly river tours are over for the summer months, and the Santiva is back in Captiva Island, groups may schedule river cruises in the upcoming months. The Edison Ford Winter Cruise Season resumes its regular schedule again at Edison Ford in November.

   captiva cruises 1The photo to the right shows the historic Edison and Ford shoreline and the unique river experience that is part of the cruise program at Edison Ford. For those who have not taken a cruise yet, it’s a great way to learn about the history, river ecology and unique environment of southwest Florida from the experts.

      Group experiences can include lunch, refreshments and tours of Edison Ford besides a private cruise on the broad Caloosahatchee River. Call Edison Ford at 239-334-7419 for information about the River Cruise program provided at Edison Ford by Captiva Cruises.