Efforts to build a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla are continuing, and will for a long time.
Those efforts, though, got a big boost when Matthew Inman scored a $1-million donation from Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of electric-car company Tesla Motors. The company has also agreed to build a supercharger station in the museum parking lot
It’s going to take a lot of money and effort to do everything supporters want at the historic Wardenclyffe property in Shoreham they managed to buy about two years ago.
But they are making significant progress. And they are raising the money in creative, charming ways, which should excite the legions of Tesla fans worldwide who revere the famed scientist for his achievements and regale others with stories of his eccentricities.
In 2012, thanks to an Internet fundraising attempt run by Internet cartoonist Inman of The Oatmeal on crowd funding site Indiegogo that attracted 33,000 donors and the efforts of a core of Long island-based Tesla enthusiasts, $1.4 million was raised to purchase the 16 acres where Tesla did some of his most important work between 1903 and 1915.
The state of New York kicked in another $850,000.
But the group behind the dream of the “Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe” needed a lot more money than that to finance its grand plans.
Jane Alcorn, who heads the group, said, “I think we’re looking at $8 million to $10 million to achieve everything we want to with the building and property, but right now we’re trying to raise $200,000.”
That $200,000 is to replace the roof of Tesla’s lab before more water damage occurs. It wouldn’t be so expensive, but Alcorn and her gang are trying to get the building accepted on state and national historic registers and that means building things back the way Tesla had them, which she says she would want anyway.
The pitch for raising the $200,000 is actually quite attractive: donors can, depending on how much they kick in, get a brick engraved with their message or logo that will be installed on the property, forever immortalizing the gift.
Tesla, who many consider the greatest inventor in history, died in 1943, poor and alone. Since then a cult of Tesla love has developed, thanks to his momentous discoveries in electricity, computer technology, radio, engineering, physics and sound transmission.
This determined effort by fans to pay tribute by building something so special is finally paying off. There is still much to do. But Long Island is the right place to commemorate the man and build a learning and science center locals can use.
We’ll keep cheering the efforts, as long as they take.
For more info on the current fundraiser, you can go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/buy-a-brick-for-the-nikola-tesla-museum.