The exhibit explores the outdoor adventures of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs, close friends who enjoyed exploring the great outdoors together. Their trips throughout the United States helped popularize recreational camping and are documented in this exciting exhibit. Although their camping trips may have been more elaborate than the average camper’s, with dozens of staff members and purpose-built camping vehicles like Ford’s “Chuckwagon” on display, they played a significant role in promoting camping as a leisure activity.
The Timeline of Innovation exhibit showcases the diverse range of ventures and projects that Edison and Ford were involved in throughout their lives. While many associate them with the light bulb or the assembly line, this exhibit uses artifacts, documents, and replica items to highlight their many other activities.
Thomas Edison’s contributions to the entertainment industry are also highlighted in the exhibit. He left a lasting impact on two major industries: recorded music and movies. Edison’s phonograph was the first instance in history that sound could be recorded and played back, which earned him immediate worldwide recognition. In addition, he and his assistant W. K. L. Dickson pioneered the development of recorded images that could be played back, which Edison called the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope. The exhibit delves into how Edison’s contributions helped shape entertainment in the 20th century and beyond. Visitors can experience regular demonstrations of phonographs and interactive elements in this gallery.
The Family & Friends exhibit explores how Fort Myers served as a haven for the Edison and Ford families, providing them with a place to relax, spend time with family, and connect with friends away from the intense spotlight of fame. The gallery showcases the more relaxed side of Edison, Ford, and their families, with a wealth of original family artifacts and archival items. Additionally, the exhibit discusses the many famous and interesting guests who visited the two famous Fort Myers residents.
The Cape Coral Historical Society was incorporated on June 12, 1980, and three years later, they purchased the original Cape Coral Country Club Pro Shop and Snack Bar building from the City of Cape Coral. They then began creating what would eventually become the Cape Coral Museum of History. The Museum opened to the public in 1987 and has since expanded to three buildings filled with exhibits. The Museum’s operations are supported by one full-time and one part-time staff member, with an active volunteer pool of approximately 50 individuals. The Museum is open to the public approximately 200 days per year, from 11 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Friday and from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday. The Museum is operated by the Cape Coral Historical Society and governed by its fifteen-member Board of Directors.
In conclusion, the Edison and Ford exhibit showcases the great outdoors adventures of close friends who helped popularize camping, and the Timeline of Innovation exhibit explores the many activities Edison and Ford were involved in throughout their lives. Visitors can also experience demonstrations of phonographs and explore the more relaxed side of the Edison and Ford families in the Family & Friends exhibit. The Cape Coral Museum of History, operated by the Cape Coral Historical Society, has been open to the public since 1987 and features exhibits across three buildings. The Museum is supported by a small staff and a group of dedicated volunteers, and visitors can explore the history of Cape Coral and beyond through its exhibits.