In the center of Belgrade, a villa holds the world’s largest collection dedicated to the life and work of scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla.
Famous for his rivalry with Thomas Edison — and for his invention of the alternating current (AC) current electrical system, the induction motor, most likely radio transmission, and, of course, the Tesla coil — Tesla’s heritage is complicated. He was an ethnic Serbian, but an Austrian citizen, born in what was at the time the Austrian Empire, now Croatia. He lived his professional life in Budapest and Paris, then moved to America. He later became an American citizen, and he died in New York City in 1943.
Ten years after his death, his records were transferred by his nephew to the new museum in Belgrade. The museum consists of seven display rooms holding thousands of documents, books, photographs, and equipment belonging to Tesla. Several models are on display, including one of the famous Wardenclyffe laboratory in New York. The collection was named part of the UNESCO Memory of the World program, dedicated to the preservation of documents and materials related to world knowledge, in 2003.
The museum is currently engaged in a program of digitizing the documents in their collection.
Tesla’s ashes are held in a golden sphere in the third room, and his death mask is in the last.
There are several other, smaller tributes to Tesla around the world, including a small museum and statue dedicated in 2006 in his hometown of Smiljan, Croatia.
We explored Tesla Museum on Obscura Day - March 20th, 2010. Photos, stories and more here