Raising money to build a Tesla museum

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman -- who raised a small fortune for charity from readers who were offended by a groundless legal threat penned by Charles Carreon at the behest of the website Funnyjunk -- has kicked off a new fundraiser. This time, he's asking his fans to donate money towards buying the site of Nicola Tesla's lab and building a national Tesla museum on it. The charity is the beneficiary of the fundraiser needs $850,000 to buy the site, and millions more for the museum (though this might come from corporate grants -- Inman suggests that Westinghouse and GE would be good sponsors, since the former was founded by the man who was Tesla's original patron and the latter was founded by his archnemesis).

Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory - The Oatmeal (Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)


  1. I saw this today and will make a donation as soon as I can scrape up some free funds. But we’re going to need some heavy hitters to make this happen. Nikola Tesla’s brilliance and vision has been too long forgotten.

  2. I would so donate if I had any money.  I saw the Tesla museum in Belgrade and it is wonderful.  But I would be great to have one here in the states too. 
    Hmm… I still have a 100-dinar note from my time in Serbia (and it has Tesla’s picture on it).  Maybe I could donate that?

    1.  The problem isn’t in reviving Tesla’s ideas.  The real problem is that working successfully on Tesla stuff has been know to persuade people to go sit in their apartment for years, while feeding pigeons.  Because to do otherwise would be the same as GIVING KNIVES TO INFANTS


      (but only half ;)-ing  )

    1. Yeah… I’ve stayed at my friend’s house nearby on LI a bunch of times. I always intended to go take a peek at the building because I thought it would be cool to see, but… everything is just so unpleasant on LI, especially driving around.

      That said, I support the museum and I would love if they are able to refurbish the building and (presumably) create a replica of the original lab with all the old-style equipment and everything, and I would go out of my way to check it out even if it means going to Long Island.

  3. I hope Tesla liked wine so they can do a “wine country” tasting tour combo. “What would Nicola have drunk?” I recall he had freaky eating habits so maybe not.  Lovely as that area of the north shore & fork of LI is for a weekend house, about the only current reason to day trip way out there, 1.5 hrs from Manhattan, is to visit the wineries.

    Off the beaten path museums have a spotty success record. Even some Manhattan museums have failed.  Battleship NJ in Camden across the river from Philly is in serious trouble. I’ve been a huge Tesla fan since reading a bio as a teen and would love to see a museum to take that blowhard Edison down a notch. Just saying “if you build it they will come” ain’t necessarily so.

    1. The location is important because that is where Wardenclyffe is located. The attraction of going out there and visiting it is to see a lab where Tesla actually worked. I think this place should be a national historic landmark.

    2. Tesla was a fancier of high-end whiskys.

      Supposedly he went through an entire bottle per ?week?, claiming that the obvious health benefits would allow him to live to 140yrs.

      Yeah, on the museum, we’d better donate more $K above the price of the land!

      1. Supposedly he went through an entire bottle per ?week?

        You make it sound like that’s a lot.

  4. I’ll donate anyway, but I have to say that this is not the best-structured Indie-a-Go-Go campaign. Right now, if you want to get any perk, you have to contribute $1,000… and it’s only slightly over half-way to being funded. A lot of people contribute specifically for the perks; that’s a pretty high bar to jump over now.

        1. That’s what I did. I’d rather see all the money go towards the museum. They also posted an update here to let people know that they are working to get more perks: http://www.indiegogo.com/teslamuseum?c=activity

  5. This isn’t that great an idea.

    Look, people, Tesla just wasn’t that important. If you rank the 100 top scientists and technologists of all time, he’s not there. Maybe he makes the top 200.

    Showmanship, bleah. The guy who invented Abelian groups was more important. Where’s his museum ?

    1. Neils Henrik Abel got his face on stamps, banknotes, statues and the Abel Prize named after him. I’d go to an Abelian groups museum if there was one, but I can’t imagine what it would contain.

      Also, it is more fair to say he discovered or explored the things we call Abelian groups, rather than inventing them.

    2. Hmm… ubiquitous AC current used the world over vs. some obscure and abstract mathematical concept, WHICH one is more important?

  6. There used to be a Tesla museum in Colorado Springs but it closed a while back. That was before everyone decided Tesla was cool.

    1.  Oops.. Just say the comment above. But the website doesn’t say anything about being closed.


      WEDNESDAY NIGHTS  7:00 pm.   $5.00 per person (suggested donation)

      Sign Up In Advance

      1.  HOW TO GO SOLAR WITHOUT GOING BROKE (based on my new book)

      The cheapest alternative to alternative energy


      The non-medicated cheap way to disease-free health

      3. LIVE WELL ON MINIMUM WAGE  (based on my new book)

      Yes you can really live well and happy on practically nothing


      Come to this one if you are not afraid of the truth!!!”

      This museum doesn’t have the most reputable-looking website.

      1. In fairness, Tesla was getting pretty loopy toward the end there, not to mention broke. Who is to say he wouldn’t be on board with lectures about UFO conspiracies and living in poverty?

  7. How do I know the money from this campaign won’t go toward Tesla’s secret long-term plan of being resurrected as an all-powerful cyborg overlord?

    On second thought, that would be a pretty good cause too.

  8. Wow, I completely missed this post the first time around, because it uses the EXACT same font and style of that stupid “Lose belly fat with this 1 weird old tip” ad that’s always around.

  9. Wrong question.  Some intellectual contributions are surprises: they come out of left field and enrich the world, and without their originator, they might not have happened until decades later. Other contributions are just people rising to the occasion. Alternating current was the latter. AC is simply obvious – or rather, it was obvious at the time, after the brilliant work of Tesla’s predecessors. One of AC’s champions had to be the most famous champion. So alternating current, BFD. I’m more impressed by his work on polyphase motors, which I’m guessing the average Tesla fan has never heard of.

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