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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison Ford Member Celebration

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 27th

     Now in its 8th season, the Edison Ford Members had a lot to celebrate at the Annual Membership Party on October 19th. The evening included an update from Chris Pendleton, President & CEO, plus live music for dancing provided by Danny Morgan “Jazz Colours Ensemble”. Since the evening was all about the Jazz Era in the time of the Edison and Ford families, members came in appropriate dress of the era and enjoyed Gin Rickey and Bathtub Punch.

Some members hit the dance floor and some took on the Charleston Dance lessons provided by Alyce Bochette, Bochette Dance Studio.

The Annual Member Party is part of a membership program that includes lots of extras like FREE admission to Edison Ford and hundreds of other museums, history sites and gardens throughout the nation, discounts in programs like lectures and summer camp, and of course discounts in the Museum Stores. The Membership Program fees are applied to the education activities of Edison Ford.

member celebration 2014

Everyday at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 17th

November is a lovely time of the year to visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The weather is a little cooler, the air is a little drier and the summer rains have brightened the gardens.

Every day

  •  Historian led guided tours every hour; audio tours in English, German, French and Spanish; Museum and Lab tours, and Museum demonstrations throughout the day. 

Saturdays, 11:00 a.m.

  • Edison Ford Mucker’s/Young Inventor’s Tour is a fun, hands-on Edison Ford Museum program for children 12 and under … adults can join in too!

Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

  •  Garden & Estates Tour includes practical home gardening tips and tour of all garden areas, propagating nursery, Garden Shoppe and nearly 25 acres of historic gardens. Also participants will receive a 10% discount in the Garden Shoppe.

 Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

  •  German Language Tours for our German speaking visitors led by an Edison Ford Historian.

 Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

  •  Behind-the-Scenes Tour with curators is a visitor favorite and takes visitors inside the historic buildings for tips on care of artifacts and historic buildings and includes time to tour on your own.


Edison & Ford Holiday Nights – December 1 – 30

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On November 16th

● December 1 – 30, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.   

  Holiday tradition continues with Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Southwest Florida’s 37 year annual event. The winter homes and gardens of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated.

      Guided tours at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. (special ticket) and NEW Holiday Behind-the-Scenes tours on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m.  The newly restored Lab and Museum will be open every evening.

      Special discount nights available to Lee County residents on December 1, 2, 3, and 4. Group rates are also available to groups of 20 or more people any night with advance reservations.

      Edison Ford Holiday Nights was chosen one of the top 100 events in the nation by the American Bus Association and one of the top 20 events for  December by the Southeastern Tourism Society.


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.


Magnet School Grant

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 13th

As part of the Magnet School Assistance Program Grant, students and Fort Myers Middle Academy (FMMA) Educators will work alongside Edison Ford Education staff with hands-on science and engineering connection classes, Wild Wizard Science shows, field trips to Edison Ford with
Engineering workshops and a Science and Engineering Spring Break Camp.

Students of FMMA will have the opportunity to build bridges, work with
circuits, make submersibles, operate robots and much more

Black Maria Film Festival Returns in October with Retrospective

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 5th

Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival Retrospective

Friday, October 5, 7:30 p.m., Royal Palm Yacht Club

Saturday, October 6, 7:30 p.m., Edison State College, Fort Myers Campus 





Since 2007, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Edison State College have collaborated to bring the international Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival to Florida. The Festival began its national tour in 1981, celebrates Edison’s pioneering work in cinema, and features award winning contemporary independent and experimental short films and video. The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying festival of short films.

Typically the Festival has been held in spring, however the award winning festival is

moving to October with a retrospective of films from the festivals’ collection. Films include exceptional animated works shown in Poland at the Animator Festival and certain live action works which have proven to be highly popular in recent seasons as well as southwest

Florida fan favorites! Black Maria Film Festival Director and Founder, John Columbus will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards both nights.


On October 5, the Edison Ford will host the festival at the neighboring Royal Palm Yacht Club. For an additional fee, movie goers can enjoy cocktails and tapas at 5:30 p.m. as they watch the sunset at the Edison Ford Coconut Grove (reservations must be made in advance). 

Tickets will go on sale September 5 at the Edison Ford ticket office.

Ticket prices: October 5: Edison Ford Members and Edison State College Students $8,

non-members $10; October 6: Edison State College Students FREE, general public $10. Discounted tickets for both nights, $15. Early evening tapas at Royal Palm Yacht Club, $20 (cash bar). Seating is limited for both nights.

      For more information or to reserve your seat call 239-334-7419. A detailed list of films will be listed on Edison Ford website: www.edisonfordwinterestates.org on September 15. For more information on Edison State College visit www.edison.edu or Black Maria Film Festival www.blackmariafilmfestival.org


Monthly Volunteer Meeting and New Volunteer Orientation

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 4th

● September 11, 9:30 a.m.
Chief Curator Alison Giesen and curatorial staff Mike Cosden and Matt Andres will present a gallery lecture and tour of the Estates newest exhibit, Edison & Ford in Cartoons: Then and Now in the Edison Caretaker’s House, as well as
demonstrate hands-on activities with the Museum Smart Cart.

Meetings and lectures are open to current Edison Ford volunteers as well as
prospective volunteers and the public.

For questions and additional information contact the Volunteer Department at 239-334-7419.

Emerging Inventors/Early Learner’s Series

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 30th

Edison Ford Emerging Inventors/Early Learning Program for one – three year old children and their parents, grandparents and other family members begins in September. The program includes socializing with others, education activities, story time, singing, crafts and exploring the homes, gardens and museum at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

Each session introduces science through activities and time to tend the Emerging Inventors Vegetable Garden! Children and parents are encouraged to bring lunch to enjoy on the grounds after the program.

Classes for the upcoming year include:

  • September 6 – Super Sprouts
  • January 17 – Follow the Leader
  • September 20 – Lovely Leaves
  • February 7 – Lots of Lights
  • October 4 – Super Shapes
  • February 21 – “E” is for Edison, “F” is for Ford
  • October 18 – Pumpkin Party
  • March 7 – Terrific TreesNovember 1 – Creative Colors
  • November 1 – Creative Colors
  • March 21 – Fantastic Fruits
  • November 15 – Gobble, Gobble
  • April 4 – Bouncing Bubbles
  • December 6 – See Santa
  • April 18 – Fun Flowers
  • December 20 – Super Sound
  • Classes are the first and third Thursday of each month, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. To register call the Edison Ford Education
    Department at 239-334-7419.

    Edison Caretaker’s House

    September 6, 2012 • 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

    The exhibit features a collection of editorial cartoons of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford from the 20th century into modern times.  At 5:30 p.m. tour the Gallery with Edison Ford Chief Curator, Alison Giesen and Cartoon Illustrator and Author, Doug MacGregor for exhibit insight.

    The exhibit will continue through February 2013

    Editorial cartooning has been part of journalism for centuries. It has not only become a tradition, but more importantly, has been used to help shape America’s history. Historically the role of cartooning was a way to transfer information with differing viewpoints during a time when the majority of society was unable to read. With visual clues, cartoonists are able to create images to draw attention or to make statements about current events, issues and the people involved.
    The first editorial cartoon in America was created by Benjamin Franklin in 1753. Today, even though many more people can read than in years past, the tradition of editorial cartooning has carried on.
    No two figures of the 20th century had more of an effect on the daily lives of Americans than Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Between them, they filed a total of 1,254 patents (1,093 for Thomas Edison, 161 for Henry Ford) for inventions ranging from the movie camera and the first incandescent light bulb to the Model T. Because of their fame these two men were very popular among editorial cartoonists for many decades.

    The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is celebrating the two famous men in a new exhibit, “Edison & Ford Editorial Cartoons: Then and Now.” It features a collection of editorial cartoons from the 20th century into modern times with works from famous illustrators such as Joseph Keppler, J. N. Ding Darling, and local editorial cartoonist Doug MacGregor, who for 25 years created weekly editorial cartoons for the Fort Myers News-Press.

    September Events & Programs at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 23rd


    Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
    Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
    Photo attachments: Homeschool classes begin at the Estates on September 16; Learn how to start your own organic vegetable garden at Estates Garden Talk on September 10

    Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – September 2011

    FORT MYERS, FL (August 21, 2011) – September at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of Estates Homeschool Classes, continuation of Garden Talks,  a new monthly program for children (ages 1-3)  Emerging Inventors Early Learning Class, as well as a variety of  children and adult programs throughout the month.  The September schedule of programs and events include:

    Estates open Labor Day, September 5, 2011, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

    NEW – Emerging Inventors Early Learning Class, September 1 and 15, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    The Estates newest education program series is a child and parent learning class for children ages 1 -3 years that includes immersion into the buildings, museum and gardens.  Each program is theme based combining early science, invention, story book reading and hands-on activities.  The Learning Class continues twice a month throughout the year.  Contact the Estates Education Department at (239) 334-7419 for more information.

    September 1, “Pet parade– Thomas and Mina Edison loved animals.  During Edison’s time there were peacocks, cats and many birds on the property.  In this class children will explore pets using music.  Bring your favorite stuffed animal for the pet parade.  Cost:  Estates Members $5 , non members $15.  Registration is recommended.

    September 15, “Row, row, row your boat” – Thomas Edison enjoyed taking guests on his electric launch for boat rides on the Caloosahatchee River.  In this class children will have fun playing with water, watch shapes grow in water and see water do amazing things with science.   Cost:  Estates Members $5 , non members $15.  Registration is recommended.

    Garden Talk – How to start your own organic vegetable garden, September 10, 9 a.m.
    Organic gardening is the oldest method of gardening and was practiced by Thomas Edison, who grew many vegetables at his Fort Myers estate to eat, sell and ship up north.  Estates horticulturists will teach the basics of organic gardening in southwest Florida including bed preparation, pest control, compost and planting from seeds.  Reservations not required. Estates Members are free, non members $5, all participants will receive a $5 gift certificate to be used in the Estates Garden Shoppe.

    Estates Science Fair Workshop for Homeschoolers and Virtual Students, September 13, 10 a.m. – noon
    The Estates will be hosting the 2nd annual Homeschool and Virtual Students Young Engineers, Scientists and Inventors Fair on October 25, 2011.  Homeschool and virtual students must enter to pre-qualify for the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair.  The Estates is offering workshops throughout the year to assist students with their science projects.  The workshops focus on choosing a science fair topic, conducting the experiment, documenting results and designing a science fair display board.  Cost:  $5.  Call the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419 to register.

    Homeschoolers:  Science Law and Order, September 16, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    Homeschooled students will learn how scientific laws are made, put laws and theories to the test, and understand scientific processes and how they lead to scientific discovery.  Students and their parents can enroll in a half day of curriculum that follows the Florida Sunshine Objectives for Learning.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child.   Program recommended for grades 1- 6.

    Monthly Volunteer Meeting and New Volunteer Orientation, September 20, 9:30 a.m.
    Join Estates volunteer staff and “Mr. and Mrs. Edison” as they present their trips to Edison’s Glenmont New Jersey home and the Chautauqua Institute (Mrs. Edison’s father was one of the founders).  This is a regular monthly volunteer meeting and mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are also welcome.

    Quilting and Stitchery Demonstration, September 24, 10 AM – 1 PM
    Quilters from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Embroidery Guild will demonstrate quilting and stitching and will be available to answer questions.  Items will be available for purchase.  The Quilters are preparing for the Estates Annual Clothesline Quilt Show on October 29, 2011, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Complete Tour ticket.

    Edison Garden Market vendor space available, November 19 & 20
    The 4th annual Edison Garden Market has space available for plant growers, fruit producers, garden art and garden supply vendors.  The Edison Garden Market attracts nearly 1,000 gardeners and visitors looking for unique and historical garden items including flowering trees, tropical plants and fruits, bougainvillea, orchids, roses bromeliads, palms, cactus, herbs, bonsai, bamboo, fruit, ginger, butterfly plants as well as garden art, home and gardening supplies. For more information contact the Estates Garden Shoppe at 239-334-7419.

    NEW German Language Tour, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
    For German speaking visitors, the Estates offers a German language tour led by an Estates Site Historian on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.  The tour includes the historic homes, gardens, and Edison Botanic Research Laboratory all presented in German. Groups can schedule a German Language tour, available throughout the week, by calling the Estates at 239-334-7419.

    Behind the Scenes Tour, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
    Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates Members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of Behind the Scene Tours space is limited and registration is required.

    Estates Botanical Garden Tour Tuesday and Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.
    The Estates Botanical Garden Tours will be offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. The tour includes a walk through the historical gardens, and a behind the scenes tour of the Estates Propagating Nursery led by Estates horticultural staff.  Cost for the tour is Estates members, FREE; non members, $24 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 -12.  Visitors may upgrade their ticket for $6 to include a self-guided audio wand tour of the historic buildings and Estates Museum.  Group botanical garden tours are available at a discounted price and may be scheduled throughout the week by calling 239-334-7419.

    Edison Botanic Lab Update
    The structural and exterior building phase of the restoration of the 1927 Edison Botanic Lab has been completed.  This total $850,000 project was funded through grants fromt eh 1772 Foundation, US HUD/EDI Grants, State of Florida Matching Grant, Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation as well as the financial and staff resources of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.  Work included structural and building engineering, new roof, replicated siding, restoration of the original windows, electrical upgrades, alarm systems and ADA compliance.  In the upcoming months, work will continue on interior work to the chemistry lab, machine shop, plant grinding room, darkroom, field office as well as the adjacent research beds and shade structure.  Visitors receive an update weekly in the Behind the Scenes Tours.  A dedication ceremony is planned for February 2012.

    The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates 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.