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

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the how-many-cars-will-fit? dept.

The Almighty Buck 63

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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63 comments

Good thing Edison is not alive... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41128835)

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

Good point, we'd better build a death ray onto it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129025)

That way we can be sure to be able to deal with him.

Unless he becomes a Zombie. Better build a flamethrower into it.

Re:Good thing Edison is not alive... (3, Funny)

DevotedSkeptic (2715017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129821)

If so, then Tesla would sneak in and tweak the food so that the food would make people skinnier

Re:Good thing Edison is not alive... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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?

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41128837)

this a good thing :D

Excellent! This is worthwhile. (5, Interesting)

jimbodude (2445520) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41128999)

Your kids probably never played Red Alert so a lot of the coolness will be lost on them.

It took a video game to make lightning cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41135179)

You must have never seen a large Tesla coil in real life. The beautiful play of electric plasma, the ear-grinding buzz, the smell of ozone...

Tesla coils aren't cool because of Red Alert. Red Alert is cool because of Tesla coils.

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129057)

They should build a Maker Center there, it could support it self in no time.

Education and invention.

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132863)

I'm all for an interactive museum and maker center. How awesome would it be if they had a build your own Tesla coil workshop. Plus they could also offer 3d printing, small laser cutting, machine shop and various electronics and computing workshops. And Brookhaven lab is a few minutes drive south.

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129455)

What kid wouldn't be inspired by a live Tesla coil?

Particularly if it played a medley of popular sci-fi theme-tunes....

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (2)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132147)

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.

Take them to the Tesla Museum in Colorado.

http://teslamuseum.us/

Re:Excellent! This is worthwhile. (2)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132199)

Never mind.

Apparently the Colorado museum I visited in 1996 doesn't exist anymore.

Very underestimated scientist (3, Insightful)

Jerry Smith (806480) | about a year and a half ago | (#41128907)

If only he had gotten as much attention as the media now tend to spend on famous trash, the world would be a much better place.

Re:Very underestimated scientist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129003)

I chew on ass as if it's bubble gum.

Re:Very underestimated scientist (0)

Snappyolyness (2713751) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129023)

Shall I feast?

Re:Very underestimated scientist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129043)

It's pew pew along the lines of magazine! Warning! Warning! Such imbeciles will lead you astray! Never submit to those that are not stargazer!

He did (5, Informative)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129081)

"If only he had gotten as much attention as the media now tend to spend on famous trash, the world would be a much better place."

Tesla was actually quite famous in his day. His fame might have fallen by the time he died, but Time magazine did feature him in its cover. See:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Nikola_Tesla_on_Time_Magazine_1931.jpg [wikimedia.org]

Surely, at a time where TV broadcasting was in its infancy at best, appearing on the cover of Time is as good a claim a fame as appearing on Fox News or American Idol.

Blame his failure to equal the status of Edison, not to mention Einstein, on his decision to withdraw from society in his later years.

Re:He did (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129911)

Tesla was actually quite famous in his day. His fame might have fallen by the time he died, but Time magazine did feature him in its cover.

Indeed. And it's not so much that his fame has fallen, as the geeks of today have been somewhat mislead by a series of books written by various Tesla acolytes. Since the bias of those accounts ("up the lone inventor, down the evil corporation") largely fits the bias of the modern geek, they have been accepted pretty much uncritically.

Re:He did (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#41134593)

they have been accepted pretty much uncritically.

Sort of how you expect your post to be taken - you provide no cites or references, not even any details of the things their bias has prejudiced. Your making claims that you aren't substantiating, and are asking that they be taken on faith.

Re:He did (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41130765)

Lets be more accurate here. The idea of Telsa was a challenge to the idea of a corporate dick being able to pay other to invent things and then for that corporate dick to be able to prance about the world stage feeding his ego by claiming he was a genius and invented all that stuff himself. Here's hoping they have an Edison display in the toilets, for the first corporate executive douche with a national PR team who worked hard and making the inventors and true genius's invisible so corporate executive ass hats could take the public credit.

Re:He did (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41134159)

"If only he had gotten as much attention as the media now tend to spend on famous trash, the world would be a much better place."

Tesla was actually quite famous in his day. His fame might have fallen by the time he died, but Time magazine did feature him in its cover. See:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Nikola_Tesla_on_Time_Magazine_1931.jpg [wikimedia.org]

Surely, at a time where TV broadcasting was in its infancy at best, appearing on the cover of Time is as good a claim a fame as appearing on Fox News or American Idol.

Blame his failure to equal the status of Edison, not to mention Einstein, on his decision to withdraw from society in his later years.

Eh, Edison did some quality damage iirc; electrocuting livestock to deter people from investing in AC with claims of danger, etc.

J.P. Morgan pulling the plug on funding is what really killed it for him though. Or the marines blowing up one of his hugely expensive towers assuming it was used for German spies. If Tesla had had unlimited funds and avoided getting screwed by Marconi on those wireless patents, we would probably live in a very different Bioshock-esque world.

Re:Very underestimated scientist (1)

DevotedSkeptic (2715017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129829)

He was quite famous in his time, however he does not get credit for all of the tech he pioneered, he was a God among men!

Audience (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41128915)

I superficially glanced at this but couldn't figure out if the museum audience is supposed to be:
1) 10 years old
2) -or- electrical engineers and fellow travelers
3) -or- homeopathic crystal therapy conspiracy theory vampire worshipers

Its pretty hard to appeal equally to all 3, so I'm curious which audience the museum is aimed at.

Obviously... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41128967)

It's meant for the 10 year old electrical engineers working on homeopathic crystal therapies for vampires.

Re:Audience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129021)

yeah, look how the homeopathic therapy worked for Jobs.

Re:Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41140309)

Worked fine from my perspective. I hate egotistical assholes.

Re:Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129089)

My impression is that the audience would be both electrical engineers and their 10 year old children, or at least the electrical engineers who still love what they do like they were 10. Associating Tesla with crystal-wearing vampire-worshiping conspiracy theorists has tarnished Tesla's otherwise "good" name. (Well... He did love that pigeon, but can you really blame him?)

Re:Audience (2)

HistoryNerd (325402) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129113)

It should be mostly 1 & 2, with adults who don't really know that much about science in general but think it might be an interesting museum to see being another category.

There should be plenty designed specifically for kids and school children in general, but the museum should ideally have artifacts and objects associated with tesla so that while the electrical engineer may have known just about everything about the exhibits information wise in advance, but still enjoy seeing the assorted artifacts in person.

Those who you might categorize as "Tesla nutters" still may be happy to see Tesla get recognition and get some praise at a museum for his accomplishments. They are the people most likely to possibly complain Tesla is still not getting enough credit and the "museum sold out to corporate interests to conceal the whole truth about Tesla" though.

It should be noted those you might consider "Tesla nutters" really have nothing to do with the foundation setting up the museum other than donating money. The actual foundation board consists of among others physicists and a retired teacher/librarian.

Re:Audience (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129941)

It should be noted those you might consider "Tesla nutters" really have nothing to do with the foundation setting up the museum other than donating money. The actual foundation board consists of among others physicists and a retired teacher/librarian.

Being a physicist or a retired teacher/librarian is in no way inconsistent with being a "Tesla nutter".

Re:Audience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41130029)

Given the guy from the Oatmeal basically worships Tesla I assume it's going to be a church.

Re:Audience (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132143)

Museums such as these though valuable can be a tough sell. When I am in the area, i visit the The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. It has a similar problem in terms of audience and focus. One thing I hope the tesla works on is a good endowment. Mas I found out when a job I was at tried to donate something to the Smithsonian, they were happy to take it, but only with an endowment. Keeping artifacts safe is not cheap.

This is great news (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41128981)

I very recently visited Zagreb, Croatia and went to the technical museum there. It holds a permanent Tesla exhibition with daily shows featuring some of his more prominant works in action.

Still, it was very lacking in both information and content. The exhibitioner was not able to perform the show in English (for a mostly non-croat audience), and did not have sufficient understanding of the technology to discuss it in his native language. They did not seem to understand how, exactly, the inventions work. Which, sadly, holds true for many of physicists in this world.

I have great expectations of this museum, and I sincerely hope that it will bring justice to the genius that was Tesla. I hope they find skilled physicists who can convey the physics behind the inventions to visitors, and to hold shows that will capture the attention and minds of the young.

-j

Re:This is great news (4, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | about a year and a half ago | (#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?

Re:This is great news (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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

Re:This is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41133491)

As a matter of fact your comment is misleading. Tesla is a Serb. His father was Serbian Orthodox priest, Milutin Tesla. His mother, Djuka Mandic was also a daughter of Serbian Orthodox priest. Croatians are Chatolic. Nikola Tesla was baptized Serbian Orthodox Christian. Hewas not born in Croatia. At hat time his birth place was Smiljan, Austrian Empire. It became Croatia only after wars. Thus, Tesla was 100% Serbian that became naturalized American. Also, Croatian army has burnt Tesla's birthplace home during recent Yugoslav wars, in attempt to get rid of everything Serbian.

Re:This is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41136415)

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.

I understand that "Serb" is probably a dirty word today, as The Truth Of Today says, but whether you like it or not, there is no doubt that both his father and his mother were Serbs (but not Serbians - probably never in its history have Serbia been home to all of Serbs). Croatian influence is noted and appreciated, though. It was one better time, when Serbs and Croats there were traditional brothers in arms and shared some common goals and dreams. "Lika dialect" was his mother tongue - Serbs had been living in Lika since early 18th century, under appointment of Habsburgs, when the Military Frontier against Ottoman Empire was established on land reclaimed from it. Most of the Lika Serbs came into it from another Croatian historical province - Northern Dalmatia, at the time of settlement under rule of Venetian Republic.

Re:This is great news (1)

sidesh0w (32371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41138391)

Just don't make the same mistake I did and plan to see it on a Monday when you're only in town a few days.

Re:This is great news (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41131817)

They did not seem to understand how, exactly, the inventions work

Columbus. Great hair cut. Liked to sail. In 1492, he sailed, somewhere, not sure where. But look, we have an educational poster of him over here...

I'm thinking there must be an engineering college with work-study EEs and MEs who could talk about our modern polyphase AC power system pretty much exactly as Tesla designed it, and his boundary flow turbine mostly used at fish hatcheries AFAIK, and his very famous "coil" which is basically a air core RF transformer with big lumped constant resonant exterior coil and a resonant quarter wave high Q antenna on the inside.

His coil is an interesting way to give EEs a headache, prior to recent large scale computer modeling (ansys and the other computational electrodynamics solvers, etc) I don't think there was a way to completely accurately model the behavior of a tesla coil under all conditions.

Then again I've seen enough wanna be electricians screw up a simple 3-phase install that maybe that's a little over optimistic.

Think about a more recently deceased EE, like Bob Pease. An EE can easily appreciate the cool stuff he did, (well, an analog/RF EE anyway) but your average volunteer tour guide would be totally WTF when trying to explain the stuff he designed and invented.

Now the first addition to it should be... (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129017)

The first thing that should be added to this museum is the papers that the FBI snatched from his estate when he died. Of course if our crooked government holds true, these were probably handed out to Hoover's buddies to either make a profit off of, or just bury.

Another Tesla museum? (4, Informative)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41129157)

There's apparently one in Belgrade [wikipedia.org]. There is another small one in Colorado Springs [teslamuseum.us] - I've been there.

Re:Another Tesla museum? (4, Interesting)

HistoryNerd (325402) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Another Tesla museum? (1)

victim (30647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41130119)

since most people are not going to happen to go to Belgrade.

Which is good, because if most people were in Belgrade that would be slightly more than 10 people per square meter.

Re:Another Tesla museum? (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41130791)

The one in Colorado looks like it's nothing more than a scam, the website is full of "Buy my books about DC vampires conspiring with UFOs to lower the efficiency of AC by systematically inserting high-resistance elephants [wikipedia.org] into the line!"

Re:Another Tesla museum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41131079)

I would hope the museum in Belgrade and the new proposed museum would work together and possibly share artifacts (cycle them between each other during each museums tourist season).

Have you been to the current one? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41133299)

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.

I have not been to it either yet, but I did talk to the guy on the phone.

It is appointment only, you have to come up with a group of four or more, but they have Telsa artifacts and they use some of them as part of a stage show. It sounds interesting enough I plan to go sometime if I can get a few friends together.

I still also donated money to the Oatmeal effort, but some respect should be given for a guy who has tried to maintain a decent Telsa collection for years.

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41129369)

Kickstarter project for transferring energy wirelessly over the Ether(net).

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41130367)

Already been done. [youtube.com] What they need to do is get working on the tower, the underground portion still remains, and employ the help of this fine gentleman. [www.tuks.nl]

My bet is if they were to even start down that road there would be injunctions, and anything else the government could conjure to stop it from happening.

I will be surprised if they are even able to buy the property without at least a few lawsuits getting in the way. That said I have donated multiple times and will keep donating all that I can.

Good Luck Matt! You're gonna need it.

Hope there's a better business model this time (3, Interesting)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Hope there's a better business model this time (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132163)

Bummer. I visited it in 1996 and it was pretty cool then.

Re:Hope there's a better business model this time (1)

chilvence (1210312) | about a year and a half ago | (#41133003)

The new museum could try zapping passers by with tesla coils.. that would draw a crowd quickly. Well until they realised it wasn't really bacon,,,

Spo86e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41131329)

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Dear "The Oatmeal" (1)

MacDork (560499) | about a year and a half ago | (#41132675)

Please use the money to rebuild the WardenClyffe tower to Tesla's original specs. Build the working version that he never had the funding to complete! Wireless electricity for all :-)

Wardenclyffe Tower Tesla Museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41134065)

The NPR article about this story mentioned that the property is now owned by
  AGFA of Belgium, and once required the U.S. EPA to declare it a Superfund cleanup
site, a cleanup that took 'years' to complete. Usually such cleanups are funded by
taxpayers (not the rich ones of course) and costs run into multi-millions of dollars. If
the cleanup was necessitated by AGFA's operations there, why isn't AGFA DONATING
the property? Seems like it would be a good publicity move if nothing else. Then the
  group that raised the money would be able to get the museum ready for the public.

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