Press Releases

Riverwalk A&E District Announces Addition of Partner Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District is pleased to announce that Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has joined its consortium of cultural partners. Riverwalk A&E District, along with its partners Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale History Center, Historic Stranahan House Museum and Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, has the express mission of promoting cultural tourism in South Florida.

Bonnet House is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. The historic 1920 plantation-style waterfront home is situated on 35 acres of natural preserve with five native habitats, all in or near their pristine state. Nature trails surround a fresh water lagoon and mangrove swamp, home to manatees, cranes, foxes, swans, a troop of squirrel monkeys and other wildlife.

The Main Residence was designed as a Caribbean-style plantation by artist, designer and self-taught architect Frederic Clay Bartlett, who lived there with his wife, Helen Birch Bartlett, a published composer and poet. After Helen died of cancer, Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lilly, also an artist. The couple spent the next two decades painting and refurbishing the residence/grounds. Considered to be of vernacular design, Bonnet House is home to a collection of the Bartletts' artwork, the family's original furnishings/ephemera, and items used by staff. There are 15 historic structures on the property designed by Frederic Bartlett between 1920 and 1938.

The mission of Bonnet House, Inc. is to preserve, interpret and share the unique and eclectic historical legacy – artistic, architectural and environmental – of the Bartlett and Birch families, inspiring in diverse audiences an appreciation for creative expression, historic preservation and natural conversation, while enhancing the educational, cultural and economic growth of the community.

Bonnet House is owned by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, is a designated Fort Lauderdale Historic Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only three house museums in Florida to be accredited by the American Association of Museums, and the only home/studio of two American artists with the original furnishings and artwork that is open to the public.

People of all ages, including school children, come to Bonnet House throughout the year to attend classes on history, art, ecology, horticulture, music and historic preservation. Adult education programs are offered OctoberMay.

Bonnet House can be rented for weddings, corporate receptions or dinners. It has been rented by film production companies and fashion photographers, and featured in nationally distributed publications and programming.

Open year-round, the museum's opening hours are TuesdaySaturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.  Starting Nov. 1, 2012, the new hours will be TuesdaySunday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day. Over 70,000 visitors came to Bonnet House in fiscal year 2011-2012. Guided tours are given hourly by trained volunteers on the half hour and are 1½ hours long (tours can be given in Spanish, French and German with advance notice.) Admission is adults $20, seniors ages 60 and over $18, children ages 6-12 $16, children under age 6 and Bonnet House members free, gardens only tour $10. Group tours available at discounted price.

All areas open to the public are fully accessible/barrier-free. Bonnet House offers a Touching Tour for the visually challenged and free education programs for children with severe disabilities.

"Bonnet House allows visitors to experience what Fort Lauderdale must have been like 100 years ago," said Riverwalk A&E District Project Manager Carmen Ackerman. "With its beautiful setting and delightful and whimsical art and architecture, it provides a respite from the 21st century."

Bonnet House is located at 900 North Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304. For more information, visit, or call (954) 563-5393.

About Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District

The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is a unique partnership of arts and entertainment organizations located along the New River in Downtown Fort Lauderdale with the express mission of promoting cultural tourism in South Florida. Presenting over 1000 individual events each year, the District attracts well over 1 million visitors annually. Partners of the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Consortium include Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, the Historic Stranahan House Museum and Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. It is supported by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information about Riverwalk A&E District and its partners, visit

Carmen Ackerman, Riverwalk A&E District
954-414-6910 /

Duree Ross, Duree & Company, PR Consultant
954-723-9350 /

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SOURCE Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment