Edison Ford Registrar Matt Andres visits FAM’s Annual Conference
October 19, 2018
Southwest Florida, an area ranging from Bonita Springs to Marco Island, is well known for its’ beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and lush tropical flora, but it recently served as the background for a very educational gathering. This year’s Florida Association of Museums (FAM) Annual Conference took place in Naples from October 1-3, 2018. Museum professionals met to discuss issues relevant to our state’s art, history, and science institutions. Southwest Florida’s premier museum and attraction, The Edison and Ford Winter Estates, was represented by Curatorial Registrar Matt Andres, who made the short drive down I-75 to join his colleagues in exploring a variety of wonderful projects occurring across the “Sunshine State.”
As one of the speakers in the “Bring and Brag” session, Matt had the opportunity to give a short presentation on our site’s fabrication of a replica Quadricycle, Henry Ford’s first vehicle. The news of this project was well-received and has already generated interest from other museums involving potential exhibit opportunities and future educational programming. The Quadricycle was Ford’s first attempt at building a gasoline-powered automobile. The Quadricycle had two driving speeds, no reverse, no brakes, rudimentary steering ability and a doorbell button as a horn, and it could only reach about 20 miles per hour. Ford sold the Quadricycle in late 1896 for $200, which he spent on building his second car. In 1904, with Ford Motor Company becoming successful, he bought the little vehicle back for $65, and today Ford’s initial car is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan.
The Quadricycle project is led by Automotive Curator, James Moss. He and his volunteers have been working continuously for the last two years creating each and every piece needed for the vehicle. He plans to unveil the finished product in December of this year.
The conference was also a perfect opportunity to explore some of Southwest Florida’s wonderful museums and botanical gardens. Evening events included stops at the Naples Botanical Gardens, host to this year’s Annual Museums Service Award Program, Naples Depot Museum, Historic Palm Cottage, and the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. Attendees were able to discuss ideas, learn about some of the new programs, and relax and enjoy the amazing exhibits on display.
Matt commented, “I hope I have the privilege of representing Edison Ford again at next year’s conference, where we can continue to gather new ideas and share our work with museum professionals from around the state.”