Web Comic Crowd-Sources Tesla Museum

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal has followed up his embarrassing anti-religion comic by doing a good thing. He’s organized a crowd-funded campaign called “Let’s Build a G*******d Tesla Museum” in order to buy the location of Nikola Tesla’s last lab and build a museum dedicated to the man who changed the 20th century. Inman set a goal of $850,0o0, and blew past that number in less than a week. Here are the details:

Tesla’s final laboratory is located in the sleepy town of Shoreham, New York. It’s known as Wardenclyffe and it’s where Tesla attempted to build a tower that would provide free wireless energy to the entire earth. Unfortunately, Tesla lost his funding before the project was completed and in 1917 the Wardenclyffe tower was demolished. Subsequently, the land was sold to a film and paper manufacturer.

However, the land, laboratory, and foundation beneath the tower are still there and very recently went up for sale. And right now a non-profit is trying to buy the property and turn it into a Nikola Tesla Museum. The property is listed at $1.6 million, and this non-profit has received a matching grant from New York State of up to $850k. This means that if we can raise $850k, New York State will match us for that same amount — putting the total raised at $1.7 million.

There is currently another offer on the table from someone who wants to purchase the property potentially tear it down or turn it into a retail establishment. There is no Tesla museum in the United States, despite Tesla’s extraordinary accomplishments. If we can outbid this other person and buy the land it will permanently be protected as a historic site and eventually converted into a Nikola Tesla Science Center.

Outstanding. This still isn’t enough to build a museum, but it secures the property and sets the non-profit on a path to success. Like Penny Arcade’s Child Play, it shows how a popular webcomic with a loyal readership can use the internet to do good.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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