Nikola Tesla is widely regarded as one of the most important inventors the world has ever seen, but as of right now, there's no US museum dedicated to his life's work. Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, is hoping to change that.
This week, Inman launched a campaign to purchase Tesla's old laboratory and convert it into a museum in his honor. The lab, known as Wardenclyffe Tower, was built in 1901 on a piece of land in Shoreham, New York. It was originally conceived as a wireless transmission tower that would provide power to the entire world, though Wardenclyffe was ultimately abandoned in 1917, when Tesla lost funding for the project. The property was eventually sold to a film manufacturer, but the tower and its foundation remain intact.
Now, the property is up for sale once again, and the Tesla Science Center is looking to purchase it in the hopes of completing a 15-year campaign to convert the site into a museum. The only problem, however, is that another, unknown company is also bidding on the plot, and has plans to turn it into a retail center. The current asking price is $1.6 million, though the Tesla Science Center, as a nonprofit, has obtained a matching grant of $850,000 from the New York state government. This effectively means that if the organization can raise $850,000, the state will match that amount, bringing the total to $1.7 million.
Upon learning of the Tesla Science Center's pursuit, Inman turned to fundraising platform Indiegogo, where he previously launched a wildly successful campaign against FunnyJunk. Inman hopes to raise $850,000 through online donations, and has issued an open invitation for additional corporate sponsorship, since building the museum itself would certainly cost more. (The companies on his list include Google, Tesla Motors, and Christian Bale.)
As of this writing, Inman has raised more than $260,000 within just a few hours of his campaign, which is appropriately titled, "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum." To make a contribution, click here.