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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for March, 2014

Edison Ford Museum Adds Tin Foil Demonstration Phonograph to Collection

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 27, 2014

A replica of Thomas Edison’s first phonograph was donated to the Edison Ford Museum in February by Bill Miller, a mechanic from Michigan. The phonograph will be used for hands-on demonstrations for visitors to learn the beginnings of recorded sound. tin foil phonograph exhibit march 2014

The tin foil phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison and his employee, John Kruesi in December of 1877.  The first ever recording that could be played back was the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”


2014 Inventors Summer Camp

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 24, 2014

Registration is underway for the 10th year of the summer program, Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp. Registration can be completed in person by stopping by Edison Ford, by calling the Edison Ford Education Department at 239-334-7419 or download the forms online.

summer camp march 2014

We call this an “immersion” day camp as it is based in the Edison Caretaker’s House and includes directed activities in the gardens of the Edison and Ford Estates, the Edison Ford Museum and the Edison Botanic Laboratory.

Student inventors work in science, history and the arts and get to know the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in a very personal way. We are building the next generation of inventors and leaders. Early registration is suggested and competitive scholarships are available.

Week 1:   June 2 – 6 Smarts in Art & Science (Grades 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 2:    June 9 – 13 Video Game Design (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 3:    June 16 – 20 Movie Making (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 4:    June 23 – 27 Kitchen Chemistry (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 5:    June 30 – July 3 Space & Rockets (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 6:    July 7 – 11 Physics in Motion (Grades 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 7:    July 14 – 18 Eager Engineers (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 8:    July 21 – 25 Robotics (Grades 1-3 Waiting List; 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 9:    July 28 – August 1 Robotics (Grades 4-6 Waiting List)

Week 10:  August 4 – 8 Edison Story Book Writing

Week 11:  August 11 – 15 Ford Story Book Writing

Become an author and illustrator during Week 10 and Week 11 at Edison Ford and create a book to share. Week 10 focuses on stories about Thomas Edison’s fascinating inventions and Week 11 explores Henry Ford’s exciting life.

Students will work in teams to write and illustrate books about the great inventors, and will have the opportunity to work with computers and learn from local artists and authors.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $200; non-members $230. For more information call the Edison Ford Education Department at 239-334-7419.


Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 22, 2014

In addition to daily tours throughout the day and specialty tours throughout the week, Edison Ford special events are held throughout the year and celebrate the lives and legacies of the Edison and Ford families. More details to follow in upcoming newsletters and on our Web site. The schedule of events includes the following:

April 6   – Art in Bloom

April 8   – Edison Ford Volunteer Appreciation Celebration

April 19 – Celebrating 50 Years of Ford Mustang

April 27 – Art in the Gardens, through May 18

May 11 – Mother’s Day, Moms receive FREE admission

May 26 – Memorial Day, Veterans and their families receive FREE admission

June 2 – August 15 – Edison Ford Inventor’s Camp

June 15 – Father’s Day, Dads receive FREE admission

July 3 – Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration

October 19 – Member Celebration

October 25 – Edison Ford Quilt Show

November 11 – Veteran’s Day, Veterans and their families receive FREE admission

November 22 – 23 – Edison Garden Market

November 28 – Tree Lighting Ceremony

November 28 – January 2 – Edison Ford Holiday Nights

     The Boston Red Sox World Series 2004, 2007, and 2013 trophies were on display at The Marina at Edison Ford in February. For a donation of $5 guests had their picture taken with the trophies and received discounts from Edison Ford and Pinchers. Mr. and Mrs. Edison, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Ford met the crowds and gave guests a photo of Thomas Edison at bat during Spring training in Fort Myers with Connie Mack, Manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. The funds raised benefitted the Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp scholarship fund.

red sox trophy edisons and fords

Edison Ford Director’s Tours 2014

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 14, 2014

This has been a great season of day trips to some of our favorite Florida spots.

Although there is waiting list for the March trip to Sarasota and Selby Gardens, Ringling Museum and opening of the new James Terrell sculpture exhibition, there are still a few openings for the final trip in April to Tampa to visit the Henry Plant Museum, historic Tampa Yacht Club and restoration of the historic 1930s Floridan Hotel.directors tours march 2014

• March 20, Thursday – Sarasota (Waitlist)

The tour includes the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, well known for its collection of orchids, glass houses and gardens. The day will finish up at the Ringling Estate with a tour arranged by longtime Keeper of Ca’d Zan and Ringling Curator, Ron McCarty. It includes the Ringling Museum & Estate, Art Museum and Circus Museum as well as a private tour after dark of the new James Terrell light sculpture installation. Private lunch included.

• April 5, Saturday – Tampa

Henry Plant put Tampa on the map with his railroads and hotel a 100 years ago. This tour includes the Henry B. Plant Museum and the Annual Appraiser’s Fair and private tour of the historic hotel.  Luncheon at Tampa Bay Yacht Club included.


For our year-round residents, we are planning short trips during the summer months to Pine Island (fishing, plant nurseries), Matlacha (galleries), Estero Bay (Ostego Bay Foundation) and Useppa Island Cruise and Tour.


Scarf Art Workshop with artist Marie Dyer March 21-23

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 12, 2014

● March 21, 22, & 23, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops

scarf art marie dyer jan 2014    Join Southwest Florida artist, Marie Dyer, and create your own hand painted silk scarf. Marie will teach a variety of techniques to inspire painters of all levels to create their own “one-of-a-kind” scarf.  All materials will be provided to produce a finished piece.

Known for her vivid floral landscape paintings, Marie has been a featured artist at Edison Ford and has taught “Scarf Art” workshops throughout the New England area. Participants may bring their own lunch or enjoy eating at the restaurants at Bell Tower Shops. To register call 239-334-7419.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $85; non-members $90 (includes materials and one silk scarf).


Road Scholars at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 10, 2014

● March 11, 31 and April 8

     With more than 300 participants from around the world, Edison Ford is a featured site for the weeklong lifelong learning Road Scholar program of Elderhostel. Participants enjoy a Southwest Florida experience that includes Sanibel Island and Downtown Fort Myers. Participants spend a full day at Edison Ford with a Behind-the-Scenes tour, inside the historic homes and laboratory with curatorial staff, learning about unique architecture and award winning restoration, as the Edison and Ford families experienced Florida.

      Participants receive presentations by Edison Ford faculty including “Edison at Work: Laboratories and Innovations” and “Henry Ford Industrialization” offering insight into two great inventors. While at Edison Ford, they enjoy breakfast, lunch and refreshments as well as a tour of the site, lab and museum.

      To register or for more information on Southwest Florida Road Scholar programs in March or April visit on the Web or call 800-454-5768.


River Cruises Return, The Marina at Edison Ford Opens

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 9, 2014

edisons on river cruise march 2014     Both the Edison and Ford Families were fascinated by the Caloosahatchee. They loved living on the river banks; they boated its waters on Edison’s electric boat, Reliance; fished from the pier; and explored the estuaries and nearby islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

      The Edison Ford Cruise and Tour programs will continue to explore the history, ecology and geography of this wonderful river. This season the project will be expanded even more to include a new Pinchers Restaurant, beverages, and an easy connector between Edison Ford and our new neighbor, The Marina at Edison Ford (River Marker 55 and 2360 West 1st St., Fort Myers). Thomas and Mina Edison will often join the River Cruises.

      Captiva Cruises has been our partner on the river for many years, providing in-depth natural history, river history, and a top notch cruise program. Sometime this summer, they will be bringing a boat to be permanently located at The Marina at Edison Ford, and there will be daily cruises seven days a week.

 River Cruise & Tours from Captiva Island

● Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m., departing from McCarthy Marina

      The River Cruise & Tours from Captiva Island to Edison Ford is available on Wednesdays during season. The river tour shows the importance of the Caloosahatchee ecologically and culturally, includes a view of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates from the water and guided tour of the Edison and Ford historic homes, gardens, lab and museum. Participants will arrive at the NEW Marina at Edison Ford and will have time to enjoy lunch on their own at Pinchers at The Marina.

Cost: $65 Adults, $60 Children (ages 12 and under) plus tax and includes an historian led tour of the river and Edison Ford.

Seating is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-472-5300.

River Cruise & Self-Guided Tour of Edison Ford

● Wednesdays, Noon and 1:00 p.m.

      River Cruise of the Caloosahatchee and self-guided tours of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates depart from The Marina at Edison Ford. Self-guided tour includes audio tour of the Edison and Ford historic homes and gardens, admission to the Edison lab and Inventions Museum and cruise of the Caloosahatchee River with Captiva Cruises. Cost: $45 Adults, $35 Children (ages 12 and under). Tickets may be purchased at the Edison Ford ticket office. Participants will depart from the NEW Marina at Edison Ford and will have time to enjoy lunch on their own at Pinchers Restaurant.

      Groups of 20 or more will receive a group rate DISCOUNT with advance reservations. Pinchers at The Marina at Edison Ford is available for large and small groups with lunch packages starting at $20. For more information contact Edison Ford Group Sales at 239-334-7419.

      Daily River Cruise & Edison Ford Tours will begin late Spring, departing from The Marina at Edison Ford.

President’s Update ~ Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 7, 2014

president update     The construction project for the Museum West Porch is underway with an official “ground breaking” on Thomas Edison Birthday. Edison Ford Trustees were joined by City of Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson and Councilman Mike Flanders.

presidents update march 2014 groundbreakingConstruction is expected to continue for the next three months and finish just in time for the June rainy season.

Other activities ahead include the commemoration of a time capsule for the Porch. This will include photos of the Edison’s original plans for a Museum as well as photos, artifacts and memorabilia of today’s exhibits for future generations to understand the evolution and history of the Edison Ford Museum during the past 50 years.

Some of our favorite activities these days center on our website, which is mobile ready and can be found at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org. Our social media spots include:

  • Facebook:  Facebook.com/EFWEFLA
  • Twitter:  @EdisonFordFL
  • Instagram:  EdisonFordFL
  • Pinterest:  EdisonFordFL
  • Wedding blog:  http://www.historicfloridawedding.com
  • Garden blog:  http://www.tropicalfloridagardens.com
  • Edison Ford blog:  http://www.edisonfordwinterestatesblog.compresidents update march 2014 edison statue and egret

Please join us, “Like Us”, “Follow Us”, “Pin Us” and keep connected with Edison Ford on social media. Here is one of my favorite photos found on Facebook of Thomas Edison at his banyan tree with our resident snowy egret, who I call “Thomas” because he follows the tours and is always inspecting his estate.













Edison Ford Monthly Volunteer Meeting and Program with Edwina Raffa

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 6, 2014

● March 11, 9:30 a.m. – Edison Ford Shoppe, Bell Tower Shops

edwina raffa book escape to the everglades     Join children’s author Edwina Raffa who will discuss her books which take place in Florida. Raffa is a native Floridian, who lives with her husband in southwest Florida and is author of Race to Kitty Hawk, Escape to the Everglades, and Kidnapped in Key West. Books are available for purchase and signing.

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