Effective June 1, 2020, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, whose legal name is Bonnet House, Inc., has taken title to the 35-acre Bonnet House estate in Fort Lauderdale. As part of a property reorganization agreement entered in February, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation signed over the deed to the historic property today. The transfer of ownership marks the formal end of what had been a contentious disagreement between the Florida Trust and Bonnet House, Inc., the local not-for-profit that has managed all aspects of the estate’s preservation and operation since 1990. The Tallahassee-based Florida Trust had attempted to assume direct management of Bonnet House in February of 2019, but outcry from the local community halted those plans.
“The board, staff and volunteers are all relieved to see this chapter in the property’s history come to a final conclusion,” said Patrick Shavloske, CEO of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. “We can now focus all our efforts on preserving the estate and developing programming that meets the community’s needs. We estimate that since Jan. 1, 2020, the reorganization has saved Bonnet House well over $100,000, and with the impact of COVID-19, such savings are even more important.”
Maxine Streeter of Genovese Joblove & Battista and Paige Brody of Brody & Brody represented Bonnet House in its struggle to maintain local control and management of the museum.
The historic and whimsical estate is welcoming guests back for self-guided house tours on Tuesday, June 2. The estate recently welcomed guests back for self-guided grounds tours on May 19. Guests will enjoy a one-way route around the beautiful estate, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Tickets are $20 for the house and grounds tours, and $10 for the grounds-only tour for all non-members. Tickets are free for members. Daily visits will take place Tuesday–Sunday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., with early access for members and visitors with potential health vulnerabilities from 9–10 a.m. Limited tickets are available at www.bonnethouse.org/about-all/covid-19/, or at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens Welcome Center.
Guests (except children 2 years old and younger) must wear masks/face coverings at all times. Face coverings and water ― in addition to soda, iced tea and ice cream ― will be available for purchase in the Welcome Center or Museum Shop.