If you have been catching up regularly with the changes at Edison Ford, you will know for the past 15 years our focus has been on restoring and preserving the historic buildings and gardens. In fact, we started with the Edison riverside buildings about that long ago, and moved on to the Ford estate, and the riverside gardens winning the National Trust and the National Garden Club top awards in the process. Our next project was the restoration of the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory and we were designated a National Historical Landmark as a result. The total for all of this work has now approached $14 million dollars!
With that under our belt our newest projects will focus on the following two projects:
- Upgrading the public gathering areas and adding the River Pavilion in the Coconut Grove on the riverside and adding more porches and gathering areas around the museum.
- Upgrading the Edison Ford Museum (which dates back to the 1960’s) with new facilities, flooring, and most importantly exhibits. With the Hall of Invention now completed (originally built in 1984 as an addition), we are moving on to the large initial gallery, which we call the Orientation Gallery.
Our changes to the exhibits, special exhibits and overall look of the Edison Ford Museum will continue to happen while visitors enjoy the process and full access to the Museum. This is being headed by our Chief Curator, Mike Cosden; Assistant Curator, Brent Newman; Exhibit Specialist and Conservator, Megan Kissinger; Registrar and Researcher, Matt Andres; Automotive Curator, James Moss; Archivist and Historian, Andrew Scheip; and Bobby Feldman and Holly Shaffer who manage all of the interpretation and activities in the Museum.
Joyce Owens, Architect (Fort Myers and Incoming President of Florida AIA) is our consultant on this project helping us with design considerations, traffic flow and all of the other related factors which will make the museum even more interesting.
As Edison Ford’s President & CEO for the past 15 years (with years previously directing science, industrial, history and art museums), I am excited about the museum overhaul which will bring in more hands-on activities as well as an overall more contemporary “look.”
In 2017, we will install the new Spark Lab in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. Edison Ford will be the only site in the South to host this prestigious project which will help us create a hands-on exhibit for invention.
Please join us regularly to watch our progress as we install new exhibits, host special exhibits and bring to life our very large collection of inventions and historical and industrial artifacts. We are honoring Edison, Ford and the invention process for all “inquiring minds.”