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Special Family Day At Bonnet House

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As the holiday season approaches, it is always a good idea to remember the importance of family and togetherness. Spending time with our loved ones as the seasons change and the days get shorter is a time-honored tradition. Here at Bonnet House, we are providing a variety of unique opportunities for families to spend time together this holiday season.

On November 18th from 9:00am – 3:00pm, we invite you to join us for our Special Family Day! Special Family Day will include a selection of fun, family-friendly activities including:

● Live music by the Gold Coast Youth Orchestra at 10:00am & 11:00am on the lovely veranda
● Escape Back to the Museum STEM-based Outdoor Game with Ciphers, Riddles, and STEM Labs along our historical hardwood hammock
● The Mounted Police Horse Unit and K9 Police
● A Treasure map of what to find on the Bonnet House Estate
● Meet the Barefoot Mailman and other historical people from Bonnet House

Guests will also have the opportunity to tour the historic house museum, and explore the nature trails filled with native plants, trees, and an occasional monkey! Admission to Special Family Day is $10 per adult, and children under 13 as well as Broward County educators are free of charge!

We hope that you and your family join us for this special occasion. Spending time with family is one of the most important things we can do, and Bonnet House is the perfect place! To learn more about Special Family Day, visit our event calendar.

Celebrate the Holidays at Bonnet House

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What’s that noise we hear in the distance? It’s the sound of jingle bells! That’s right, our Holiday Magic celebrations are right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited! The Holiday Magic five-day celebration kicks off Friday, December 1st with our annual Holiday Magic Soirée. This popular event is followed by four nights of Holiday Magic Sparkling Evening Experiences that will fill you up with Christmas cheer!

On Friday, December 1st, the Main House and grounds will be lit up and sparkling during this Holiday Soirée with a full bar, catered dining by Hansen Group, and live music. The fantastical characters from the award-winning storybook POMP, SNOW & CIRQUEumstance, will join us again this year with a new presentation from their first-ever residency show and immersive experience. Additionally, all of the trees, wreaths, and centerpieces that you will see on display will be for sale. Soirée attendees have the opportunity to view and purchase these works of art before anyone else! To purchase tickets for general admission and exclusive VIP access, click here.

On Saturday, December 2nd, we will be hosting a magical evening for families to enjoy. Join us for a Wonderland of live entertainment, and plenty of opportunities to capture your holiday family portraits. Some of the evening’s highlights include:

● Scavenger Hunt throughout the house and letters to Santa: 5:30 – 7:30pm
● Photos with POMP, SNOW & CIRQUEumstance™: 5:30pm
● Broward Center Spotlights performance: 6:15pm
● Santa rides in on a Firetruck: 6:30pm
● Broward Center Spotlights performance: 7:15pm

We will also be offering holiday cheer during each evening tour which will include general admission to the house and two drink tickets. Self-guided house tours will take place between 5:30pm – 8:00pm. To learn more about this exciting family-friendly event, and purchase your tickets, click here.

We hope that you and your loved ones are able to attend some or all of our annual holiday events this year. The holidays are such a special time of year, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you at Bonnet House this year! To learn more about our upcoming Holiday Magic events, visit our event calendar.

From the Collections Vault: Evelyn’s Honeymoon Photo Albums

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Accession Number 2011.BH.030 & 034: Evelyn’s Honeymoon Photo Albums

Happy American Archives Month! Our collections are such a treasure trove and I am just beginning to scratch the surface. While on the hunt in our storage for another project, I came across two cardboard floral photo albums in our archives. Photos slid out as I picked one up, revealing scenes of Frederic and Evelyn in Europe I did not know existed. The two albums feature one photo per paper page in glossy black and white of their 1931 honeymoon trip. I was immediately taken by the intimacy and quirkiness of the photos. They took snapshots of each other mainly, mimicking each other’s poses or including fun candid pictures. There are of course a few of the both of them together, by/on a ship or at a meal, and even in traditional German clothing. I believe these photos really show their artistic nature and love for each other.

We did not have much information on where Frederic and Evelyn went on their honeymoon exactly. Venice, Munich, Paris, and Monaco were confirmed; however, these photos show other locations as well. I began to do some research through reverse image searching. I was able to find that Frederic and Evelyn visited the Gorges Du Loup viaduct near Nice, France, the Rhône Glacier ice grotto in Switzerland, and multiple locations in Garmisch, Germany. There are as-yet-to-be-identified spots as well. You can see some of the pictures here in this article, and for the curious like myself, the links to these locations are here:

Garmisch-Partenkirchen: beautiful scenery on the Zugspitze – Germany Travel

Rhone Glacier Ice Grotto | Switzerland Tourism (

The Gorges du Loup viaduct, or Viaduc du Loup, was unfortunately destroyed by German troops during World War II and only partial remnants exist today. Here is a website link to its history:

Pont-du-Loup Viaduct | Historical Society of Tourrettes-sur-Loup (

A few of these are direct inspirations for paintings we have on the property! I was in a state of awe seeing photos that Frederic used for the honeymoon painting diptychs in the studio that I wrote about in our latest newsletter. The railings, clothing, poses, and backgrounds are clearly recognizable in the paintings. I just knew I had to include them in our museum somehow – so now you can find a collage of these photos and information in the Studio, as well as a copy of the entire photo album in the Drawing Room that all are welcome to peruse. If you recognize any other locations, feel free to reach out and let us know. Hope you enjoy!


Preserving Bonnet House

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The Bonnet House property was purchased in 1895 by Hugh Taylor Birch. While the property had already experienced over 4,000 years of Florida history at the time it was purchased, the state of Florida looked nothing like it does today. Although much time has passed, the Bonnet House property still encompasses one of the last examples in South Florida of a native barrier island habitat. We are fortunate to be one of the few places in Florida to include five distinct ecosystems and an abundance of native plants and wildlife.

These five unique ecosystems include the Atlantic Ocean beach and primary dune, a freshwater slough, the secondary dune which includes the house site, mangrove wetlands, and a maritime forest. To complement the natural vegetation, the grounds also contain a Desert Garden composed of arid plantings, a hibiscus garden, and the main courtyard planted with tropical vegetation.

Our stunning variety of tropical vegetation includes but is not limited to mangroves, saw palmetto, blue porterweed, wild coffee, bougainvillea, and plumeria. Bonnet House also showcases various blooming examples of orchids in our greenhouses and throughout the estate all year round.

If you are interested in learning more about our fascinating ecosystems, and specific plant varieties, we encourage you to participate in our Education Programs . Our Educational Programming enlivens our mission statement and supports Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards by offering onsite classes, field trips, and virtual lessons in Florida history, nature, art, and design.
These programs:
● Integrate character education
● Involve hands-on activities
● Provide various choices of curriculum enrichment
● Conform to the National Trust for Historic Preservation curriculum guidelines

Here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we pride ourselves on providing unique and interesting opportunities for our guests to learn more about our estate, its owners, and Florida’s beautiful ecosystems. But none of this would be possible without our passionate and engaging volunteers. These dedicated individuals help us to educate guests, and care for our many species of plants. Our volunteers are truly the heart and soul of Bonnet House and they make all of our goals come to fruition.

Whether it’s everyday operations, special evening events, or gardening, Bonnet House couldn’t operate as it does without our team of volunteers. Volunteers have a variety of different opportunities to serve at Bonnet House. If you have any questions or wish to join our team of volunteers at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, please call (954) 703-2606 or click here.

Plan Your Next Event At Bonnet House

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Life is full of ups and downs. Although our lives can’t be perfect all the time, there is still an abundance of joy to be found in each experience and opportunity. Here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we want to be there for the most important moments in your life. Whether you’re planning a wedding, celebrating a retirement, or taking graduation photos, we can accommodate your event on our vast estate.

The Bonnet House estate spans 35 acres on Fort Lauderdale Beach, providing a variety of exquisite settings for events of any shape and size. Whether you are planning a close and intimate gathering or a grand and lavish affair, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens sets the scene for romance and timeless memories. Guests have the exclusive use of the tree-lined alee, garden courtyard, waterfront veranda, hibiscus garden, or the Bonnet House Beach. It is important to note that the renting party is responsible for all services such as catering, tables, and chairs. To learn more about how you can plan your next event at Bonnet House, visit our Estate Rental webpage .

The Bonnet House property is truly stunning, and offers some of the most beautiful settings for photography and filmography in the area. In fact, Bonnet House was the primary location for Will Shriner’s delightful movie “Hoot,” the television series “The Bachelor” and “The Glades,” and even served as the finish line for season 7 of the reality television program “The Amazing Race.” To learn more about photography and filming on our estate, you can view our specific guidelines, here.

Photographers and videographers are not the only folks that seek inspiration from our historic property. The Bonnet House Fine Artists are a group of accomplished artists, whose work is often inspired by the lush and tropical Bonnet Grounds. Bonnet House Fine Artists members exhibit and sell their work on the Bonnet House property and in various galleries, museums, and public sites throughout the community. Membership is open to artists working in any medium. To learn more about becoming a member of this unique community, click here.

There is so much that is worth celebrating in life. Our expansive, historic estate is the perfect place to capture timeless memories. If you’re interested in having Bonnet House be a part of the most important moments in your life, you can email [email protected] or call (954) 703-2608 to schedule an appointment.

Why Bonnet House?

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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has been a staple in the South Florida community for over 100 years. The estate offers an extraordinary blend of art, architecture, history, and ecology. Filled with a delightful collection of art and personal treasures, the Main House exudes a sense of charm, whimsy, and gracious living. The surrounding grounds of the estate remain a virtual oasis of coastal wilderness and informal gardens, nestled amid the commercial development of the Fort Lauderdale beachfront.

This 35-acre subtropical estate and historic house museum was built in 1920 and was the winter retreat of the Birch/Bartlett family. Bonnet House has survived with remarkable authenticity – reflecting the creative lifestyle of its artist owners and preserving the natural setting of Old South Florida. This whimsical property preserves the home of the Bartlett family and offers a glimpse into their lifestyle, and the fascinating world of art in the early 20th Century.

You can be a part of persevering this remarkable institution and the legacy of the Birch & Bartlett families by donating. Your tax-deductible contribution will go toward the maintenance and operations of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. To make a contribution or become a member, click here.

Additionally, donations enable us to continue offering unique opportunities for the public to learn and explore our estate. For example, this year we are excited to announce that we are hosting a Night At The Museum! We are inviting guests to participate in one of our two extravagant experiences. These include an overnight stay at Bonnet House and dinner for two (or eight!) individuals.

For a donation of $5,000, we will be offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience that includes a luxurious dinner for two and an overnight stay in the newly renovated guest suite. The curated experience will immerse participants in the leisurely life enjoyed at a 1930s-era beachfront estate including the rare opportunity to tour the property like never before with accommodations for two in a newly refurbished second-floor suite, dinner for two on the veranda with an exquisitely designed personalized menu, and breakfast in the morning with Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.

Separately and for a donation of $5,000, visitors can enjoy the elegant entertaining tradition of the Bonnet House estate, just as its iconic former owners, Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett did. This experience for eight includes a specially curated tour, pre-dinner cocktails, and dinner on the veranda or moonlit courtyard. Menu options may be exquisitely personalized and could include dishes like a scrumptious lobster first course, steak, and a full open bar.

Discover the beauty of Bonnet House at night at this fantastic event. We hope that you and your loved ones can show your support for Bonnet House Museum & Gardens by attending Night At The Museum. Book your reservation today!

Broward Attractions and Museums Month (BAMM)

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With so much to see and do in Fort Lauderdale, it can often feel overwhelming to pay out of pocket for all the unique experiences that our community has to offer. But luckily, September is Broward Attractions & Museums Month (BAMM)! This exciting opportunity encourages visitors to experience the diversity of cultural treasures that are offered throughout Broward County. During the month of September, visitors may buy one admission and receive a second admission for free to 12 participating museums and attractions in Broward County, while eight additional museums offer free admission, as part of the BAMM Promotion.

During September, visitors just need to mention “BAMM” or inquire about the offer at the admissions desk to purchase one regular price admission and get a second admission of equal or lesser value for free.

Participating attractions and museums include:
● Art and Culture Center/ Hollywood (BOGO admission)
● Bonnet House (BOGO admission *self-guided tours only)
● Butterfly World (BOGO admission)
● Coral Springs Museum of Art (Free admission)
● Flamingo Gardens (BOGO admission)
● The Frank Art Gallery (Free admission)
● Historic Stranahan House (BOGO admission *online reservation encouraged)
● History Fort Lauderdale (BOGO admission)
● International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum (Free admission *partially open)
● Island Space (Free admission)
● Jungle Queen Riverboats (BOGO *90-minute cruises only *online reservation required)
● Museum of Discovery and Science (BOGO *Tuesdays excluded. Adult purchase
● NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (BOGO admission)
● Old Davie School Historical Museum (BOGO admission *online reservation required)
● Plantation Historical Museum (Free admission)
● Sawgrass Recreation Park (BOGO admission *online reservation required)
● Stonewall National Museum & Archives (Free admission)
● Studio 18 Art Complex (Free admission)
● World AIDS Museum (Free admission)
● Young At Art Museum (BOGO admission)

Participating organizations may have additional restrictions or blackout dates that apply, as well as additional discounted offers available. No other offers, discounts or coupons may apply. Visitors should check each attraction’s website or call for details, hours of operation, and other updates before visiting.

There is so much to see and do with the whole family in Fort Lauderdale. We encourage you to take this fantastic opportunity to explore Fort Lauderdale and experience something new and exciting with your loved ones. Visit the Facebook page at for additional information about this amazing opportunity.

From the Collections Vault: Frederic’s Original Bonnet House Sketch

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Accession Number 2000.BH.267 – Frederic’s Original Bonnet House Sketch

Upon joining the Bonnet House family, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to slowly become familiar with the extensive collections both on exhibit and in our storage. There are many items that have been in storage for a good length of time because of many factors such as their preservation and the limited space available in the museum itself. I believe that every part of the collection pertaining to the Bonnet House is significant, and I would love to share with you some items in this new column that may or may not get the chance to see our visitors.

I came across a particularly significant piece of Bonnet House history when preparing our storage for a dehumidifier installation. In an unassuming frame with clear glass on both sides, showcasing the front and back of a piece of paper, was the original sketch Frederic Bartlett drew of his dream of the Bonnet House. The pre-1920 sketch appears to have been done first in pencil and then overlayed with an ink pen. It exhibits Frederic’s fantastic eye for detail, even in a small space such as this! Included in the sketch is a preliminary ground plan of the main house, the iconic cowfish entryway, as well as elements of the gingerbread roof and New Orleans-inspired upstairs ironwork railings. There is also a courtyard view of the studio side of the house and a beautiful rendering of the complete grounds: from the ocean, through the Chickee bridge, to the house itself and the original entryway beyond. Though age has yellowed and damaged the paper, and the ink has faded, it is still absolutely incredible.

This sketch was done on the opposite side of another piece of history – a Cordial Campari print. This black and white advertisement is in a radiating art nouveau style on glossy paper. Cordial Campari is an Italian raspberry liquor that was produced beginning in 1888. Posters such as these were distributed to bars and restaurants in Italy in the early 1900s to promote the brand – so this sketch may have been done while Frederic was in Europe!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into our stored collections. There is always a possibility that the items I will be writing about will find a place in our exhibits, whether permanently or through rotating displays. Keep in touch through our newsletters and blogs for much more to come.





Bonnet House: Upcoming Class Spotlight

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At Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we are proud to offer a variety of unique opportunities for our guests and community members to learn something new. Whether you’re interested in learning about history or the environment, gaining a new appreciation for South Florida culture, or picking up a new skill, Bonnet House has something for everyone. In fact, some of our upcoming classes and workshops include opportunities to learn yoga, orchid drawing, portrait drawing, basket weaving, and watercolor painting.

On Wednesday, August 16th from 9:30 am-10:30 am, Bonnet House will be hosting Yoga On The Veranda . This class gives guests the opportunity to experience deep healing, restoration, and rejuvenation while enjoying a slow, sacred Hatha Yoga flow on the beautiful Bonnet House Veranda. This practice combines the fluidity and meditative aspects of poses (“asanas”) with breathing techniques (“pranayama”) in a slow pace to expand boundaries, enhance the mind-body connection, nourish the spirit, and unlock new levels of personal growth. You can register for this class and learn more here.

If you are interested in honing in on your drawing skills, Bonnet House is offering drawing classes that focus on orchids and portraits . On August 12th, from 9:30 am-12:30 pm, guests will be able to learn about layering colors and using various approaches to color, light, shadow, and form to create beautiful orchids. Additionally, on August 19th, from 9:30 am-12:30 pm, students will have another opportunity to learn various colored pencil techniques that focus on mastering the skills needed in order to create child portraits.

If watercolor painting is more up your alley, Bonnet House is offering guests the opportunity to join 3-day, 9-hour workshops that cover watercolor techniques for beginner , intermediate , and advanced levels. These classes will be taught by Barbara DiMartini and are extremely popular for artists of all ages and skill levels. To learn more, and to embark on this creative adventure, visit our event calendar.

This fall, Bonnet House is also excited to announce Basket Weaving With Charlee . This fun and interactive course will take place on October 27th, and October 28th from 10:00 am-3:00 pm. In this 5-hour basket weaving class, guests will start and finish their very own snack basket! Please be mindful that basket weaving can be a rather wet activity, and dyed reeds can stain your clothes. For this reason, it is recommended that you wear old clothing to this workshop.

Bonnet House has so many unique opportunities to expand your horizons this summer and fall. We hope that you and your loved ones are able to join us for some of these special events. To learn more about our various classes and workshops, and to plan your next trip to Bonnet House, click here .

Christmas In July: Planning For The Holidays

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When most people think about the month of July, they usually think of hot summer days, visiting the pool or the beach, and grilling outside. But here at Bonnet House, July marks the time when our thoughts begin to turn to cooler weather and holiday cheer. Each December, Bonnet House hosts the increasingly popular 5 Nights of Holiday Magic, and it is never too early to start preparations! To celebrate Christmas In July this year, we want to provide everyone with the latest information about how to get involved with these spectacular events and fundraisers.

In addition to being one of Fort Lauderdale’s top holiday attractions, Holiday Magic is one of Bonnet House’s largest fundraisers and is dedicated to the preservation of the estate. Our sixth annual Holiday Magic event will kick off in December of 2023 with a team of designers decorating Bonnet House trees, wreaths, and centerpieces that will be on sale to visitors throughout the first week of December.

Because 100% of the proceeds from tree, wreath, and centerpiece sales will directly benefit the Bonnet House estate, we are asking designers and decorators to donate their time, talent, and decorations to this worthy cause. Bonnet House will provide high-quality trees, wreaths, and centerpieces at no cost to the designer/decorator and can be picked up at Bonnet House. All designers will be able to choose the theme and color scheme of their pieces and put their creative skills to good use!

The specific size details of the provided pieces include:
● TREE SIZE: Tree sizes vary from 4’ and 7’. All trees will be pre-lit. Stands are provided
with each tree.
● WREATH SIZE: Door wreaths will be 36, 30 inches, and 24 inches.
● CENTERPIECES: Undecorated artificial centerpieces will be 36 inches.

If you are a talented designer or decorator, we hope that you will consider volunteering your time and talents to create a unique piece to benefit Bonnet House. Please contact us here for more information about how to pick up your provided pieces.