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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Origins | Edison Botanic Research Corporation & Lab Part I

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 9th

Did you know that Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison collaborated on a major research initiative?

Beginning in 1927, and with a research lab being built the following year, the Edison Botanic Research Corporation (EBRC) was created to find a domestic source for organic rubber.

EBRC founders Ford, Edison and Firestone sit on the front porch of the lab circa 1930 | Edison & Ford Winter Estates Archives

Why was organic rubber so important?
Having only recently emerged from the World War I, the three friends were only too aware of the volatile market fluctuations of the international rubber market. To secure a future source for rubber, the EBRC tested a variety of botanic specimens to determine their potential for rubber production.

Interior of the lab | Edison & Ford Winter Estates Archives

In typical Edison fashion, thousands of possible solutions were tested. Which produced the most rubber?  We’ll tell you all about it in Part II of the Edison Botanic Research Corporation series.

To learn more about Edison, Ford & Firestone’s quest for rubber, check out Growing American Rubber: Strategic Plants And The Politics Of National Security by Mark R. Finlay, available in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates gift shop.

For more information about requesting a copy of these images or any other images from the Edison & Ford Winter Estates archives, click here.

Into the Wild: The Camping Adventures of Edison, Ford, and Friends

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 22nd

by Chris Pendleton, President & CEO , Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison and his good friend Henry Ford began a ten year exploration of America utilizing Ford’s new automobiles.  In 1914 Edison, Ford, John Burroughs, and assorted family members assembled their Ford motor cars and embarked on a camping and exploratory trip of the Florida Everglades.  It would begin a decade of exploration of America by the self-proclaimed ‘Vagabonds’ and the beginning of an unprecedented era of recreational travel that would transform America.

Edison, Ford, and Burroughs with family and friends on a camping trip in the Florida Everglades.

Edison had purchased riverside property in Fort Myers in 1885 and created a tropical retreat for himself, his family, friends and professional colleagues.  By 1914 he was ready to explore Florida and to engage his colleague Henry Ford with his automobiles in the project.

In the winter of 1914, the respected American Naturalist, John Burroughs, and automobile magnate Ford arrived in Fort Myers to much fanfare and excitement to visit Edison. At the time Burroughs, the author of dozens of nature essay collections, enjoyed immense national popularity. Ford was at the height of his fame, having produced his self-coined “motor car for the multitude,” and instituted the previously unheard of – five dollar per day pay rate and eight hour workday.

Burroughs marveled at the exotic subtropical plants and birds of the Caloosahatchee River region, noting how much the area reminded him of Honolulu and Jamaica. Ford always looked forward to spending time away from his busy industry with his mentor and hero, Thomas Edison. Although we don’t know exactly how the idea for their first camping journey into Florida’s wild country came about, it seems likely that Edison saw the trip as an adventure and opportunity to share his beloved Eden with his friends.

Pages from John Burroughs' journal documenting their camping adventures.

However the idea materialized, the three famous men journeyed into the Everglades and investigated the flora and fauna of the Big Cypress area. Roughing it off-road in the Florida interior gave the men a taste for discovery.  As a result, they, along with tire industrialist Harvey Firestone, embarked on a series of camping trips through the eastern United States.

For the next ten years, the “Vagabonds” and their guests explored America their way. They experienced the growing nation and its resources, as well as the interests of the American public, first-hand.  They also engaged in tree chopping contests, entertained curious onlookers, motored off-road, and enjoyed time away from their busy lives. Yet the camping trips merit a deeper significance when observed against the backdrop of a period of tremendous political, technological, and industrial change.

According to Harvey Firestone’s reminiscences, each of the famous campers had a pre-described role in the trips. Edison arranged a storage battery set-up to light the camps and provide electricity.  He also led late-night fireside discussions about politics, philosophy, and current events that became the hallmark of the trips.  Firestone made sure the vehicles were loaded with provisions and hired the cooks.

Ford scouted out potential camping areas, often taking a swim in nearby waters, climbing trees, chopping wood with gusto, organizing contests for entertainment (rifle shooting, high kicking, and sprinting) as well as the role of caravan mechanic. Ford had two Model T trucks outfitted with drinking water tanks and work tables for the cooks. (One of these trucks is on display in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum Exhibit “Into the Wild”).

Early RV: This chuck wagon was loaded up with food and supplies for the camping trips Edison and Ford took with their friends.

Burroughs was the philosopher and nature-lover on the trips. A good deal older than the other campers, he enjoyed the role of instructor, taught bird calls, shared his knowledge of botany, and led nature walks.

Over the decade in which the trips took place, they evolved from relaxing getaways to heavily promoted events that included numerous publicity stops covered by the press and the Ford Motor Company’s newsreel cameras. Historians often note that Edison’s greatest invention did not garner one of his famous 1093 patents; it was his   propensity for self-promotion that may have been his utmost genius.

Similarly, Ford capitalized on his image as an “everyman” by using the camping trips as a means to promote the joys of recreational motoring, in turn, selling more Model Ts. It is no coincidence that tin-can tourism became the national rage at the same time that the “Vagabonds” highly-publicized camping trips took place.

Hunting was a popular pasttime on these camping adventures. Pictured here, is Henry Ford with a pheasant.

The fact that two sitting United States Presidents, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge made appearances during the camping trips, illustrating the influence that Edison, Ford, and Firestone wielded not just in business, but in politics.

Interestingly, the “Vagabonds” could not have chosen a more eventful decade to embark on their camping adventures.  World War I ushered out the innocent turn-of-the-century era and heralded in the Roaring Twenties, a time that social, technological, and communication developments reached new heights.

From 1914 to 1924 the world experienced intense change, much of it wrought by the giants at the center of the camping trips. The affordability of the automobile, due to Ford’s assembly line production, changed America from an agrarian to an urban nation in a relatively short period.

Henry Ford, Mina Edison, and Thomas Edison with the caravan camping in the Florida Everglades.

Edison’s legacy was perhaps even more apparent by this time. The accessibility of electrical power in the 1910s and early 1920s increased intensely, and changed the way in which people lived, worked, traveled, and communicated.

Edison, Ford, and Firestone were keenly aware of the role of politics and international affairs in their business success. It seems likely that their earliest discussions on the quandary of rubber availability may have occurred near the campfire, leading them to the incorporation of the Edison Botanic Research Corporation (1927), headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, with a goal of raising and producing an organic source of rubber in the United States thus relieving the nations dependence on foreign rubber.

The colorful outdoor adventures of the famous friends spanned more than a decade of American history and captured the imagination and attention of the public.  The Vagabonds’ camping trips amounted to much more than a group of famous men cavorting across the countryside enjoying time away from it all; the trips were an adventure into a rapidly changing America, a venue for self-promotion and political influence, as well as a means of exploration and discovery in the midst of a time of great international change.

Into the Wild is a special exhibit at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates documenting the camping adventures of Edison, Ford and friends.

Today Thomas Edison’s estate and the neighboring estate of Henry Ford welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, proudly displaying the original old cars and camping vehicles from the past centuryThe Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a National Register Historic Site and one of the top ten most visited historic homes in America.  The property includes approximately 25 acres of historic gardens, a dozen historic buildings, a large museum full of artifacts and inventions and the original Edison Botanic Research Laboratory.

Additional information about tours, rentals and activities is available on the website at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org, or by calling the site at (239) 334-7419.

Chris Pendleton
President & CEO
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
2358 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
www.edisonfordwinterestates.org

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 9 – January 1

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 14th

Spend the holidays with one of Southwest Florida’s holiday traditions, the 35th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Edison & Ford Holiday Nights attracts visitors from throughout the world annually to view the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, and the recently restored Edison and Ford historic homes. 
 
The theme for Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has always been a combination of historical decorations amidst the orchids, exotic trees and plantings that fill the gardens.  Visitors will have the option of a self guided tour or guided tour (6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).  Guided tours include the historic homes, gardens, lab and museum with an historic site interpreter and are available on a first come, first serve basis.  
 
This year there will be events including the artist and craftsmen exhibits and appearances in the “Creative Cottage” as well as book signings and demonstrations located in the Edison Caretaker’s House;  nightly entertainment by local school and community groups; Santa visits; Horse and Wagon Rides; and a “Children’s Tree Trail.”  The “Trail” will be a veritable forest of lighted trees with handmade ornaments from Lee County students and is FREE to the public. 
 
During the holidays the homes of Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford will be open nightly from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The event also includes special exhibitions, nightly performances of dance, instrumental and choral music (by area groups and schools) and holiday items in the “Creative Cottage”, Museum Store, Garden Shoppe and the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.  The Estates Museum and Edison’s Lab will be open nightly as well as the Estates Banyan Café for refreshments.  Tickets for a self guided tour are $15 for adults and $1 for children (6-12); guided tours are $20 for adults and $11 for children (6-12).  Groups may schedule guided or unguided tours from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will receive discounted group rates.  In addition, the Estates will be offering Lee County residents special “hometown discounts” on December 9, 10, 11, 12, 2010.

New Young Inventors Tour at Estates – Begins Saturday, August 21

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 19th

Beginning August 21, 2010, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be offering a new year-round program, Edison & Ford Young Inventor’s Tour.

The new Young Inventor’s Tour will be offered at 1:00 p.m. every Saturday and will focus on hands-on discovery of four primary inventions of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Children and their families will learn how the inventions work and have the opportunity to operate the historic education artifacts.  The inventions and hands-on exploration will include:

• The Incandescent Light Bulb
The Edison & Ford Young Inventor’s Tour family tour begins in the Estates Museum and explores the progression of the light bulb from thread to bamboo as well as Edison’s scientific process.

• Recorded Sound
Children will learn the history of sound from the first recorded sound “machine,” Edison’s phonograph, to the MP3 player.

• The Ford Assembly Line
Children will participate in building a Ford Model T working on a “mock” assembly line and learn first-hand about the engine parts of an early Ford car.  

• Rubber Research
Children will make synthetic rubber as well as learn about the Edison Botanic Research Lab where Edison explored and discovered a source of natural rubber which could be grown in Southwest Florida.  

Children will receive quiz sheets to complete and receive a free prize. The tour will be on a first come, first serve basis and includes admission to the Lab and Museum.  Estates Members are FREE; non members $12 adults, $5 children ages 6 -12, children 5 and under are FREE.  Tickets will be available at an additional cost to upgrade to a complete Home and Gardens Estates Tour. 

Groups may call to register for specialty scheduled tours and programs by calling 239-334-7419. 
 

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.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Awarded $50,000 Grant

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 19th

 The Edison & Ford Winter Estates has been awarded a $50,000 preservation grant for restoration of the Edison Botanic Laboratory by the Florida Legislature through the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.  The Edison Botanic Laboratory is located at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Edison Botanic Laboratory was a project of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone who were searching for a viable source of organic rubber which could be grown and produced in Southwest Florida.  Through their work, they discovered that goldenrod leaves would  produce the latex to be distilled for a commercial source of rubber.  The Laboratory and the surrounding research gardens were active in the 1920’s and 1930’s and established the winter homes of the two inventors as a center for plant research.  Today, the site is one of the most visited historic home sites in America and serves more than 200,000 visitors and school children every year. 

The grant from the State of Florida is part of a total $630,000 project for restoration of the original 1928 laboratory structure.  Additional funds have also been received from The 1772 Foundation, HUD EDI grants, the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation, and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. It is planned that the laboratory building will re main open throughout the project. Architects for the project are Parker Mudgett Smith.  Chris-Tel Company is the restoration contractor. 

Last year, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates received the top award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for restoration of the Edison and Ford buildings along the river, and this year the site received the top national award for restoration of the historic landscape from the National Garden Clubs Inc. 

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.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Celebrates Henry Ford’s Birthday

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 9th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will celebrate the 147th birthday of Henry Ford on Friday, July 30 at 10 AM.  The celebration will include cake and a “Sneak Peek” tour of the Ford Estate with Henry Ford.  Admission is FREE to Estates members; non members $20 adults, $11  children 6 -12, children 5 and under are free.  Admission includes a guided tour or self guided tour and audio wand of the historic homes, gardens, lab and Museum. 

“Ford’s birthday marks a very important day in American history, and we invite the public to share in the celebration…. Learn about Henry Ford…. And visit the beautiful winter homes of one of America’s greatest industrialists,” says Chris Pendleton, Estates president & CEO.  “Ford’s remarkable history spanned decades and totally changed our way of life.”

Ford facts include:
• Henry Ford grew up on a typical nineteenth-century farm in Dearborn, Michigan. At an early age he demonstrated an interest in mechanics and a dislike for farm work.
• Ford married Clara Bryant in 1888. He would later refer to Clara as “the Believer” for her faith in and support of his ideas.
• In 1891 Ford became an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company, and was soon promoted to Chief Engineer. This position allowed him time to experiment with the internal combustion engine. Ford idolized Thomas Edison and met him during an 1896 company convention in New York, where Ford relayed his ideas for the engine. Ford recalled the importance of Edison’s encouragement: “[O]ut of the clear blue sky the greatest inventive genius in the world had given me complete approval.”
• In 1896, at the age of 33, Ford completed the Quadricycle, a self-propelled vehicle with four wire wheels which was steered with a tiller and had two forward speeds. Ford traveled around Detroit in his “horseless carriage,” to the amazement, as well as disdain, of its citizens.
• The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 with the Model A. In 1908 Ford introduced the Model T, realizing his lifelong dream of a vehicle that was easy to operate and maintain and able to handle the rough roads of the era. The Model T quickly became a huge success, with more than 10,000 sold in 1909.
• Ford is considered the father of modern manufacturing. As the popularity of the Model T escalated, Ford devised a system that combined division of labor, standardized and interchangeable parts, and the assembly line. This revolutionized automobile production by reducing the amount of time involved in automobile manufacturing and consequently lowering production costs. Mass production was born. By 1913 some 1000 cars were produced in a typical eight-hour shift.
• By the late teens, Ford was an American celebrity and the public could not seem to get enough of him. Ford came into his office one day and said, “You know, I think I ought to get a pair of whiskers. Everybody seems to spot me.”
• In 1914 Ford made his first visit to Fort Myers at the invitation of his friend Thomas Edison. From there the two embarked on an Everglades camping trip. Calling themselves “the Vagabonds,” Ford and Edison, along with Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs, would make many more camping trips throughout the next fifteen years. In 1916, Ford purchased his Fort Myers retreat, The Mangoes, for $20,000 and enlarged it by adding two family and staff wings.
• Ford was seriously interested in unifying urban and rural industry. He encouraged the idea of using agricultural products for industrial purposes. For example, Ford experimented with an automobile trunk made from soybean-based plastic. He was a partner in the Edison Botanical Research Lab located on Estates’ property.
• In the mid-1920s the New York Times estimated the assets of the Ford Motor Company at $1.2 billion, or about $13 billion today. Ford himself drew an average of about $4.5 million per year during this decade, or about $50 million in today’s dollars. Said Ford, “I’m in a peculiar position. There is nothing I want that I cannot have. But I do not want the things that money can buy. I want to live a life, to make the world a little better for having lived in it.”
• In 1928 Ford established and endowed The Edison Institute in Dearborn, MI (now The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village), an indoor/outdoor museum created to illustrate and preserve the American experience and celebrate American ingenuity.
• In 1929 Ford threw a lavish party in Dearborn in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Edison’s invention of the incandescent lamp. Ford presented his friend with a detailed reconstruction of Edison’s Menlo Park and the original 1887 Fort Myers laboratory at The Edison Institute. Edison became misty-eyed and remarked that “the memories of eighty-two years were flooding back.” Ford told reporters at the event, “We are ahead of all other countries today, simply and solely because we have Mr. Edison.”
• Ford loved dancing and in the 1920s began a massive effort to revive old-fashioned dancing. He sponsored a national tour of dancing master Benjamin Lovett. Dancing was also an important part of Ford’s social life in Fort Myers.
• Henry Ford earned the American Legion Distinguished Service Medal for his efforts on behalf of disabled veterans in both World Wars. In 1997, Life Magazine named him one of the “100 People Who Made the Millennium,” and in 2000 Time Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Important People of the Century.” In 2000 Forbes Magazine called him the “#1 Industrialist of the Century.”
• Ford returned to The Mangoes only sporadically after Thomas Edison’s death in 1931. In 1945 he sold it to Thomas and Gladys Biggar. In 1988, the City of Fort Myers purchased Henry Ford’s estate for $1.5 million, restored it to its historic appearance and opened it to the public in 1989.
• Henry Ford’s Fort Myers estate is open daily and now managed by the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc., a non-profit organization.
• On July 30, 2007 a statue commemorating Henry Ford’s achievements and time in Fort Myers was created by D. J. Wilkins and donated by Orvall McCleary to the Estates.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates begin Museum Tours and Invention Demonstrations

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 8th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is offering new Museum tours and invention demonstrations throughout the summer months.  Invention demonstrations throughout the day include the Edison phonograph every half hour and other presentations including antique cars and tours of the Edison Research Laboratory.

The 15,000 square foot air conditioned Museum has an impressive collection of inventions and artifacts, special exhibitions and archives.  Throughout the summer the Estates offers visitors of all ages a chance to step back into “old Florida” and learn more about the world of invention through hands-on demonstrations and tours of the property which includes a 1920’s research laboratory and hundreds of historical inventions. 

Admission includes museum tours, guided tours of the homes and gardens and use of a free audio wand.  Estates 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. 

For more information on value packages and the pristine beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel visit www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com.

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.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Open July 4th

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 29th

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard will be open Fourth of July weekend including, Sunday, July 4th from 9 AM until 5:30 PM.

Programs include regular tours of the homes, garden and lab of the two inventors as well as orientation and touring in the Estates Museum. The 15,000 square foot air conditioned Museum has an impressive collection of inventions and artifacts, special exhibitions and archives. Demonstrations throughout the day include the Edison phonograph every half hour, and other Museum presentations including antique cars and the Edison Research Laboratory.

Throughout the summer the Estates offers visitors of all ages a chance to step back into “old Florida” and learn more about the world through unique historical, scientific and cultural experiences.

Admission includes use of the free audio wand tour. Estates 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 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.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – July 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 28th

July at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of Henry Ford’s Birthday Celebration, a summer  with a Sneak Peek Tour and Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of July.  The July schedule of programs and events include:

Estates open July 4th
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be open July 4th from 9 AM – 5:30 PM.  Estates members are FREE and there are several reciprocal admission programs. 

Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp,  Space  Available
For budding rocket scientists, film makers, animators and science detectives, registration is still open for Estates Inventors’ Summer Camp at the Estates. Weeklong camps continue through August 20.  Camp hours are 9 AM – 4 PM, Monday – Friday.  Camps are open for grades 1st – 6th and sessions are separated by grade levels, 1st – 3rd and 4th – 6th.  Cost for Estates Members is $200; non members $230.  Scholarships will be available.
• Spaceships & Rockets, July 5 – July 9
The final frontier!  Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe with our resident spaceman.  Campers will get to visit planets, collect samples, float on our Lunar Lander, and tons more!
 ESI – Edison Science Investigation, July 12 – July 16 
Thomas Edison, known for his ability to turn normal objects in amazing inventions, made bamboo glow and tinfoil talk.  Now it’s your turn!  Each day, campers will be presented with a different mystery and they will only be given normal everyday items to solve them.  This fun and challenging camp will exercise your mind and body as the clock ticks away to solve the mystery!
• Movie Making Magic, July 19 – 23 
Act, direct, operate the camera and build sets.  Campers will be fully immersed in the art of filmmaking.  Participants will study Foley art (sound effects), movie magic (special effects), and script writing.  Campers will understand the basic techniques the pros use to get their ideas on the big screen.  After the camp is over each camper will receive a DVD of their film.
• Kitchen Chemistry, July 26 – 30
This mind-boggling camp is a combination of the best experiments the Wild Wizard has to offer.  Campers will learn how to take every day things found in the kitchen and make them do amazing things.  Top it all off with a solar cookout with hand made ice cream and root beer float party!
• Spaceships & Rockets, August 9 – 13
The final Frontier!  Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe with our resident spaceman.  Campers will get to visit planets, collect samples, float on our Lunar Lander, and tons more!
• Eager Engineers, August 16 – August 20
“To be a good inventor you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” said Thomas Edison.  The Estate will supply the junk and jump start the imagination.  Campers will use recycled materials and develop Green Inventions such as robots that will perform a number of different tasks, conduct science experiments, participate in balloon car races, build bridges, and more!

New Volunteer Orientation, July 13, 10 AM
Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all Estates volunteersNew and potential volunteers are welcome.

Docent Training, July 22, 9 AM
New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or leading a group tour of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Quilting and Stitchery Demonstration,  July 24, 10 AM – 1 PM
Quilter’s from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Florida Embroidery Guild  will be demonstrating quilting and stitching techniques on the Edison porch.  Members of the Guild will be available to answer questions on techniques and care.   In the early 1900’s Henry Ford collected, celebrated and displayed quilts and other historical objects.  The Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild presented the Estates with a replica Ford Collection Quilt that is on exhibit in the Estates Museum.  Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Home and Garden Tour ticket

Sneak Peek Tour,  July 29, 9:30 AM
Behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required. 

Happy Birthday Henry Ford, July 30, 10 AM
The Estates will be celebrating the 147th birthday of Henry Ford and the recently completed restoration of “the Mangoes,” the winter estate of the Ford family.  The morning celebration includes cake and a behind the scenes tour of the Ford Estate.  Estates Members FREE; non members, adults $20, children $11 and includes a tour of the homes, gardens, lab and museum.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – June 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 7th
June at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Dead Fish Printing Workshop, Free Admission for Fathers on Father’s Day, and a new Botanic Lab Exhibit in the Museum.   Regular guided tours of the historic buildings and gardens as well as audio wand tours are available daily. Expanded Botanic Tours are available on Thursday and Saturday mornings at 9 AM and they include the botanical gardens as well as the propagating nursery. The Estates are open daily from 9 AM until 5:30 PM. Special activities include:     
 
Fish Printing Workshop, June 19, noon – 3 PM
Just in time for Father’s Day join guest artists and  architects for a Dead Fish Printing Workshop (ancient Japanese art form, gyotaku) on t-shirts or other clothes for a one-of-a-kind gift for dad. The workshop is free (a $5 donation is suggested  for Estates Summer Camp scholarships) and participants are encouraged to bring their own shirts, although shirts in limited sizes will be available for purchase.                                                                                                                                                          

Free Admission for Dads on Father’s Day, June 20

The Estates is offering FREE admission to any father accompanied with their paid child on Father’s Day. Free admission includes a tour of the newly restored homes, the historic botanical gardens, the Estates Museum and Edison’s Research Laboratory.

New Volunteer Orientation, June 8, 10 AM
Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information. This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome. Volunteers receive free Membership in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and other benefits.
 
Docent Training, June 17, 9AM
New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch docents, Lab and Museum docents, or group tour docents of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory lecture and meeting.
 
Quilting and Stitchery Demonstration, June 26, 10 AM – 1 PM
Quilter’s from the Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild and members of the Southwest Florida Embroidery Guild will demonstrate quilting, knitting and stitching techniques. In the early 1900’s Henry and Clara Ford collected, celebrated and displayed quilts and other historical objects in their museums and homes. The Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild presented the Estates with a replica Ford Collection Quilt that is on exhibit in the Estates Museum. Demonstration is FREE with purchase of Estates Home and Garden Tour ticket. 
 
Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp
The Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long. Camp begins on June 7, 2010 and runs through August 20, 2010.  Camps are open for grades 1-6 and sessions are separated by grade levels. Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films.  Registratin forms are available online at www.efwefla.org or are available at the Estates.  Estates Members $200; non members $230. Scholarships are available. For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

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.efwefla.org.