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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for December, 2015

President’s Update ~ Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 31, 2015

president updateRestoration pics for January 2016 president's update2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. We began operating as a non-profit charity in October 2006, and with your help, we have proven our ability to preserve and restore the site and also to develop new programs and facilities. Thank you for your engagement and active involvement!

With almost $14 million in restoration and expansion under our belts, it is almost difficult to remember the condition of the buildings and gardens when we took on the transition to private management. I have included a few
restoration photos just to remind us of our work these many years.

We have also completed new construction projects like the new Museum West Porch, the North FPL Solar Field, classrooms wherever we can find space, and renovations to the Museum.

This year, we will complete the replica of the Edison River Pavilion in the Coconut Grove for more space to hold events and programs. Ground breaking is scheduled for January.

We have run a very conservative budget throughout and established the foundation for a capital reserve with plans for an expanded auditorium, classroom and office areas to house our staff of 50 plus. Our volunteer program has grown to more than 250 dedicated unpaid staff who meet monthly for programs and professional development.

One of our proudest achievements is the growth of a very innovative and important education program which provides opportunities like engineering and computer classes, art experiences, technology and mechanics, and
horticulture for preschoolers through adult learners.

Please join us throughout the year ahead for activities to expand your horizons and see how the Edison and Ford legacies are continuing to thrive at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

Daily Programs in the Museum

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 30, 2015

Mike giving Demo in MuseumThroughout the day join in hands-on presentations to learn about music, sound and the phonograph, how a motor works on Henry Ford’s Model T and making movies with animated images.

January Daily Tours and Programs

Every day of the week Edison Ford offers visitors historian-led guided tours and audio tours in English, German,
Spanish and French; museum demonstrations and hands-on science activities.

• Ask the Horticulturist

Ask the Horticultrist• Daily – 10:30 a.m. – Meet in the Garden Shoppe
FREE! Bring your questions or plants to an Edison Ford horticulturist. Includes Propagating Nursery, the Community Gardens and the Garden Shoppe. Please call for an appointment.

• Daily Daytime River Cruises on the M/V Edison Explorer

• 10:00 a.m., Noon, 2:00 p.m., 4:45 p.m. (Sunset cruise); Beginning January 18, 5:00 p.m. (Sunset Cruise)
River cruises will take passengers up the Caloosahatchee River to learn Edison Ford history, river ecology, as well
as viewing dolphins, manatees, birds and river life up close. For information on specialty cruises and group cruises
contact Carley Jones at The Marina at Edison Ford at 239-919-2965.

INSIDE THE LAB GOOD 3• Inside the Lab Tour

• Tuesdays – 10:30 a.m. and Other Times for Groups
This in-depth exploration inside the Edison Botanic Research Lab, a National Historic Chemical Landmark, includes areas of the laboratory which are normally closed to public traffic. See the plant processing area and learn about the machinery. To schedule a Group Tour call 239-334-7419.

• Edison Ford Garden Tours

• Wednesdays – 10:30 a.m.
Horticulturists lead behind-the-scenes garden tours which include 20 acres of historic gardens, crop gardens, propagating nursery, and Garden Shoppe full of exotic, heritage and edible plants for gardens and containers.

• German Language Tour

• Wednesdays – 10:30 a.m. & Fridays – 12:30 p.m.
Historian-led tour of homes, gardens, lab and museum in German language.

NEW INSIDE THE HOMES• Inside-the-Homes Tour

• Thursdays – 11:00 a.m.
Tour Inside-the-Homes with curators. Reservations suggested by calling 239-334-7419. Edison Ford Members FREE (one time) and non-members ticket required.

• 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.

Edison Ford Community Garden Plots

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 28, 2015

community garden dec 2015 updateEdison Ford Community Garden Plots are all taken now BUT an additional 20 plots will be created soon! Come and inspect our growing vegetables in the Community Garden – back of the FPL Solar Field.
Call Leeanne Criswell at 239-334-7419 to reserve your plot for 2016. Remember, in the Museum Store and Garden Shoppe, there are wonderful heritage seeds for vegetables and flowers and live herbs and vegetables for sale.

Holiday Nights Decorating Teams 2015

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 27, 2015

More than 150 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, Chief Curator, and the Curatorial Department. The result is a dazzling recreation of the holidays with special focus on Florida. Pictured is the group from LCEC, Lee County Electric Cooperative, which took on the long Edison and Ford picket fences and also one of the porch trees – thanks LCEC and everyone who lent their talents and time! Decorators enjoyed a special preview night on November 24 to review all of the decorations with staff and each other.

holiday nights decorating teams dec 2015 updateParticipating groups: American Institute of Architects Florida Southwest (Edison Main House Living Room and Library), Bennett’s Fresh Roast (Edison Kitchen), Edison Festival of Light (Ford Porch Tree), Edison Park Neighborhood Association (Ford Porch Trees and Garland), Florida Weekly (Edison Guest House Porch Tree), Fort Myers Beach Chamber (Edison Main House Porch Tree), General Electric (Edison Study Porch Tree and Interior), LCEC (McGregor Fence Garland and Main House Porch Tree), Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau (Ford House Serving Staff Quarters), Norris Home Furnishings (Edison Guest House Sitting Room), Open Door Shops (Edison Main House Master Bedroom), Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce (Edison Pool and Teahouse Area), Shell Point Retirement Community (Ford House Porch Trees), St. James City Volunteers with Brinson Family (Edison Dining Room), Thomas A. Edison Congregational Church (Ford House Garland), WGCU Public Media (Seminole Lodge Garland), Winn Dixie (Ford Kitchen and Pantry).

Mina, Clara & Friends … Tea & Conversation

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 26, 2015

● January 14, February 11 – 10:30 a.m., Edison Caretakers House
clara and mina dec 2015 teaMina, Clara & Friends – Tea & Conversation is a popular play series. Call to pre-register as space is limited and fills up quickly. Cost of the program includes full access to the Edison Ford Estates, the Laboratory, Museum and Museum Shops. Cost: Edison Ford Members $15; non-members $25.
To register contact Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar at 239-334-7419 or lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Membership Numbers Growing and GROWING

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 22, 2015

Being an active Edison Ford Member is one of the best ways to give a gift to yourself as well as help provide support to the organization. Being a patron member is even better as it includes FREE admission to more than 900 museums, gardens and historic sites throughout the nation and provides direct support to education and conservation of the site.
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. has been designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization by the IRS.
At the recent Annual Membership Party, 413 Members attended to learn about what will be happening in the upcoming year, the successes of the past year, and to meet and socialize with other members, staff and trustees of Edison Ford. The gathering also included live music provided by Flash Back and dance instruction from Alyce Bochette, Dance Bochette. Music and dance has become an integral part of events at Edison Ford and  members have told us they
enjoy it and they learn more every time about the lives of the Edison and Ford families.
Please contact Darlene Hermey, Membership Coordinator, at dhermey@edisonfordwinterestates.org or call her at 239-334-7419, if you have not received your annual report and if you wish to upgrade your membership category to provide additional support.

member celebration 2015

Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops – NEW LOCATION

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 21, 2015

Bell tower entrance“Dazzling and lots of new items” – Edison Ford Member
The Edison Ford Shoppe has moved to a new location next to Williams Sonoma and SAKS on the north end of Bell Tower Shops. The new store is larger in every way and includes a separate book shop with comfortable seating and adjacent coffee and beverage area. “Our shoppers are enjoying the art and household craft pieces and new items like handcrafted Florida Palmetto Hats,” says Patty Wensel, Edison Ford Retail Manager. “And the children’s area is much larger as are the Florida essentials like cotton shirts and hats.”

bell tower pianobell tower customers dec 2015bell tower model t

NEW Exhibit “Edison and Ford in Florida” Now Open

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 21, 2015

brent and mike with edison moreton bay statueThe new exhibit, “Edison and Ford in Florida” is based on the book by Edison Ford staff (Mike Cosden, Chief Curator; Brent Newman, Assistant Curator; and Chris Pendleton, President & CEO) is already getting rave reviews as is the book.
An important part of the exhibit is the institutional history since the estates opened to the public. The Thomas Edison statue carved from the Edison Moreton Bay Fig tree in the late 1990s is one of the most interesting objects and certainly the largest, so far. The tree was planted in 1916 at the beginning of Edison, Ford, and Firestone’s quest for a domestic source of organic rubber. The tree toppled into the Edison Guest House in 1996 in the aftermath of very high winds. While this caused damage to the building, the community and Board of Trustees rallied and created a fund to raise money for the repairs and creating the statue by selling pieces of the toppled tree to the public.
The statue was originally located at The Edison Mall, and then moved to the Imaginarium, then to The Edison Restaurant, where it was part of a larger exhibit of photos and artifacts on loan and now is finally back home! Staff notes that “the tree and Thomas Edison are finally home.”

edison moreton bay statue moving from restaurantEdison Moreton Bay Fig wood stature installation december 2015edison moreton bay wood statue








Edison and Ford Souvenirs Needed for Display
Please contact the Edison Ford Curatorial Department with donations or loans of souvenirs,  photos, letters, artifacts and other memorabilia for display in the exhibit of “Edison and Ford in  Florida.”
Some items which are already a part of the exhibit include salt and pepper shakers, banners and an inflated Edison bust.
Curators note that this is a fun celebration of the two men and their estates, “it also shows the importance of the legacy of the men and their inventions. The items also help fill in areas of institutional history providing invaluable information.”

Children’s Tree Trail – 10th Year

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 19, 2015

FREE Outdoor Exhibit – through January 3, 2016

tree trail karen and mike flandersA record number of live red cedar and manufactured trees have been decorated by students and teachers from Lee County and Charlotte County (new this year). The theme this year is “tropical
flowers” but many schools added other garden themes like birds and butterflies. Funds to help the teachers are provided by Edison Ford and the George M. Cox Trust. Thanks this year to Sandhill Nurseries which provided the gorgeous, huge red cedar trees. The 10th Annual Tree Trail Project has been headed by Trustee and Lee County Art Teacher, Karen Flanders, and the Lee County Art Educators. This year, we are taking a popular vote of Favorite Tree, the forms will be located at the Information Booth.

Participating schools include: Allen Park Elementary School (Susan Fansler), Bayshore Elementary School (James Lefko), Bonita Springs Elementary School (David Martin), Caloosa Elementary (Heidi Fizer), Cape Coral Elementary (Connie Willis), Colonial Elementary (Theodore LaBrunda), Crosspointe Academy (Heather Hommen), Cypress Lake High School (Marguerite Petcher), Cypress Lake Middle School (Joy Williams), Diplomat Middle School (Oliver Dominquez), East Lee County High School (Samantha Hower), Edison Ford Winter Estates Home School Class (Pearce Augustenborg & Deborah Bowers), Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School (Karen Flanders), Fort Myers High School (Crystina Castiglione), Fort Myers Middle Academy (Victoria Hahn), G. Weaver Hipps (Linda Grimshaw), Good Shepherd Lutheran School (Rosemary Jones), Gulf Elementary School (Jodie Holland), Gulf Elementary School (Liz Olancin), Gulfcoast Homeschool Association (Melissa Hill Greenbaum), Hancock Creek
Elementary (Danielle Hopkins), Island Coast High School (Linda Meyer), James Stephens International Academy (Brianne Pegg, Angelina Stephens), Lee Virtual School (Ken McNew), Lehigh Acres Middle School (Trudy Doten), Manatee Elementary (Andrea Luizzi), Mariner High School (Jennifer Riley), Mirror Lakes Elementary School (Angela Weiss), North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts (Theresa West-Taylo), Orange River Elementary (Alexis Pyszka), Paul
Laurence Dunbar Middle School (Kellen Mills), Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School (Chelsey Koonce), Pelican Elementary (Ann Sealey), Pine Island Elementary School (Gloria Van Duzer), Pinewoods Elementary (Kathleen Bean), Port Charlotte High (Hilary Davey), Port Charlotte High (Tiffiny Coffey), Ray V. Pottorf Elementary School (Sharon Tomasko), Rayma C. Page Elementary (Robert Sherry), River Hall Elementary (Jerry Young), Riverdale High School
(Sara Eby), San Carlos Park Elementary School (Michele Sipos), Skyline Elementary School (Jeffrey Nelson), South Fort Myers High School (Jeanne Dozier), South Fort Myers High School (Kim Bathey), St. Andrews Catholic School (Diana Villadolid), St. Francis Xavier Catholic School (Vanessa Lombardo), Tanglewood Elementary School (Lorri Donaghy), Tice Elementary (Jill Kesler), Tortuga Preserve Elementary School (Christina Sterrett), Trafalgar Elementary School
(Helen Garcia- Valdez), Trafalgar Middle School (Margaret Horn), Treeline Elementary (Nicole Jones), Two Happy Hands Signing Academy (Leslie Rodgers), Varsity Lakes Middle School (Marjorie Resler), Veterans Park Academy for the Arts (Cyndi Johnson), Villas Elementary School (Diana Egan).

Hypertufa Shoebox Trough Class

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 18, 2015

● January 9, 9:00 a.m. – Noon AND January 16, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. (two-part class)
hypertufa box dec 2015 updateJoin Jim Hopton, our volunteer and artist, in this two-part workshop to learn how to make a rustic hypertufa plant trough using a shoebox. Learn the basics, formula, and mold making techniques in this two part workshop. The first Saturday participants will make the hypertufa shoebox trough and the second Saturday they will be cleaned and ready to take home. The finished pot is great for growing succulents which you can purchase in our Garden Shoppe. The class will be held in the Propagating Greenhouse. The class is limited to 10 participants.
Cost: Edison Ford Members $50; non-members $55. RSVP to Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Registrar at lcriswell@edisonfordwinterestates.org or call 239-334-7419.