Skip to main content

A Museum Must!

May 31, 2024 04:20PM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan

Visitors can listen to history presentations and see a variety of artifacts in the new Learning Laboratory. All photos credited to Edison and Ford Winter Estates

One great place to cool off, explore, and learn something new is by visiting the museum at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. The museum showcases seven galleries that provide insight into the life and legacies of Thomas Edison, including his numerous inventions, such as the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the movie camera. 

 “Families and children can get a hands-on, up-close look at thousands of artifacts that we have in our collection, ranging from inventions to antique Ford cars to personal belongings—such as items took on camping trips as well as things they had in their Florida home,” says Alexandria Edwards, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator. 

Enjoy several interactive exhibits that test your knowledge of rubber and provide insight into Edison’s rubber research project in the rubber exhibit. 

There’s also a museum scavenger hunt, where visitors can journey through the museum and locate key items in the museum. Throughout the day, demonstrations of Edison’s phonograph and record player are offered. Towards the back of the museum, there is a rubber exhibit that highlights Edison’s rubber research project.

For visitors who love baseball–batter up! “We partnered with the family of Connie Mack—professional catcher, manager, and team owner—to create a new baseball exhibit that highlights the history of Spring Training in Southwest Florida, the connection between Thomas Edison and Connie Mack, as well as Thomas Edison’s love of baseball,” says Edwards.  Many artifacts related to Connie Mack and his Hall of Fame players are displayed. The exhibit also includes interactives, such as a station of sample bats that are the weight of those owned by famous players. Visitors can also take a photo with the cardboard cutout of Hall-of-Famer and pitcher Lefty Grove. 

See lots of antique film equipment, phonographs, and original Edison record players and demonstrations of the devices in the Music and Movies Gallery. 

 “The newest exhibit we added is our new Learning Laboratory, which showcases nearly 200 artifacts, including Edison’s desktop items and various award medallions, his wife, Mina’s household glassware, her framed Last Supper portrait, and letter writing items. Step into History presentations occur every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Edison and Ford Historians present an in-depth look at various topics. The presentations are included with admission.

Also, at the Estates is a new farmers’ market. “Every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in June and July, we invite you to come shop for fresh produce and other items, get something to eat and drink, listen to music, and stroll through the wildflower and bromeliad gardens,” adds Edwards. Plus, fruit trees, herbs and flowering plants will be available for sale in the Garden Shoppe. This free event offers free parking. However, it does not include admission to the museum, laboratory, or riverside of the property, where the winter homes and more are located.  Edison and Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 239-334-7419,

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.