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The Almighty Buck Science

The Oatmeal's Fundraiser Tops $1M Toward Tesla Museum 63

Posted by timothy
from the how-many-cars-will-fit? dept.
The Oatmeal's call to raise funds for a museum celebrating Nikola Tesla seems to have electrified enough people. From Digital Trends: "The Oatmeal has raised over $1 million on IndieGoGo in an effort to secure Wardenclyffe, the site of Tesla's final laboratory, to build a museum dedicated to Tesla. ... [Oatmeal founder and artist Matthew] Inman’s original goal of $850,000 would buy just half of the cost of the property, but the state of New York has agreed to match contributions, bringing total funds up to $1.7 million. Raising the capital to build a museum from the property will be another cost, but from the looks of it, with 36 days left and having already surpassed the $1 million mark, there should be funds to spare."
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The Oatmeal's Fundraiser Tops $1M Toward Tesla Museum

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  • by jimbodude (2445520) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @09:51AM (#41128871)
    If they are to build it, I would visit a Tesla museum with my children, especially if they can have hands-on attractions. What kid wouldn't be inspired by a live Tesla coil? I know I was when I was a child.
  • by HistoryNerd (325402) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @10:59AM (#41129211)

    The one you have been to in Colorado Springs was almost certainly what has now been closed. The current one, which is extremely limited in scope by any measure, is actually basically in someone's basement and can be visited by appointment only.

    The Belgrade one is the one really notable true museum, but the view of many is there should be one in the U.S. where his most significant scientific accomplishments occurred, especially since most people are not going to happen to go to Belgrade.

  • by mirix (1649853) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @11:10AM (#41129273)

    It seems the museum in Belgrade [wikipedia.org] is vastly superior. He was Serbian after all, and it looks like they inherited a lot of his artifacts -- including him. (his urn is there).

    I've been to BG a few times in the past, and never stopped at the museum. WTF is wrong with me?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @12:02PM (#41129651)

    It really does look vastly superior, I'll have to visit Belgrade and that museum the next time I'm in the region.

    Saying 'he was Serbian after all' is somewhat misleading, while it is true that he has half of his ancestry (paternal) tracing to Serbian origins, he was an Austrian, born from a Croat, in the middle of Croatia, got his inspirations in Croatian nature and learned the Lika dialect as young, I would be hesitant to sway his nationality to that of a Serb; no matter how The Truth Of Today says.

    Still, getting back to the topic, I think you need to have your geek-badge taken away from you if you don't correct the blasphemy of not visiting the museum if you've been to Belgrade few times with any time to spare.

    Regards,
    -Another Tesla Fan

  • by GPS Pilot (3683) on Sunday August 26, 2012 @12:15PM (#41129745)

    I wish him success, but he should be aware that there was a Tesla museum in Colorado Springs that was unable to make a go of it. It entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1998.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 26, 2012 @03:01PM (#41130913)

    He would probably buy it and install a McDonald's...

    Actually a developer offer to buy the property and turn half a dozen or so acres and the building over to be the museum FOR FREE if he were allowed to develop condos on most of the rest of the parcel. The property being sold through a commercial real estate agency, is already compatibly zoned.

    Considering that the efforts for this museum have been underway since the late 90's (the wayback machine is revealing with some of the sources) and there have been offices in multiple cities including one in Colorado, some should be asking how much of the funds raised over the years when to officers, board members, consultants, and contractors.
    The focus seems to have been on fund raising, even though the site could have been had (the key portion at least) for free. The owner of the site, Agfa, did not want to give the site away as they don't need a write off, and the toxic cleanup has been quite costly.

    It seems strange that something that grew out of a school cramped for space seems to lack anything beyond cardboard displays and videos to show.
    Of course the historic site doesn't have any of the original equipment. It's actually a contaminated superfund site, with issues from the photograph chemicals leaked there by a company the current owner has bought out, as well a cadmium (now apparently encased in concrete) from a Tesla tower that is long gone. Most of the actual artifacts beyond the building are in a real museum in the EU. Other resources are available through a surviving distance relative (using volunteers).
    Almost everything the people in the current project have posted has been related to fund raising. They've done little over the last 15 years to actually show the public all about Tesla. (The real museum in the EU has an excellent site however)

    Regardless of the financial skeletons behind the project, lets hope an active museum with more to show than posters and videos comes from all this. Perhaps they can get people to build replicas of some of the things Tesla designed?

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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