THE NIKOLA TELSA MUSEUM
Following his death, Tesla’s entire property was packed, sealed and handed over to the Office of Alien Property Custodian. His belongings were transferred from the New Yorker Hotel to the Manhattan Warehouse and Storage Co. where some of Tesla’s property was already stored.
On the initiative of Sava Kosanović, all Nikola Tesla’s personal property and writings were shipped to Belgrade, where Kosanović subsequently presented them to the state.
Packed in sixty packages, suitcases, metal trunks and barrels, the legacy of Nikola Tesla arrived on the ship Serbia in the port of Rijeka in September, 1951. The material was then transferred by train to Belgrade, where it was stored in the Belgrade University Faculty of Electrical Engineering. In June, 1952, it was moved from the Faculty to the Genčić Villa at 51 Proleterskih Brigada, as the street was then known. That address is now the Museum. The Yugoslav Government, on December 5, 1952, resolved to establish the Nikola Tesla Museum. This resolution was signed by Josip Tito Broz.
The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade was opened to the public on October 20, 1955. It was the first technical museum in Yugoslavia. The opening presented the permanent exhibition, which gave visitors the opportunity to see models built accurately according to Tesla’s drawings. Perhaps the most celebrated of these demonstrates the effects of a rotating magnetic field. The Egg of Columbus, which had amazed visitors to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, was also displayed for the Belgrade public. Also on display were Tesla’s first induction motor, a model hydroelectric power plant which illustrated Tesla’s polyphase transmission system, various generators and transformers, and a remote-controlled model boat. The most popular exhibit for visitors today is the Tesla coil with antenna, which was the basis for the fluorescent light. .
The Nikola Tesla Museum is today, by any criteria, a scientific and cultural institution which is unique in Serbia and the world. It is the only museum preserving the original and personal legacy of Nikola Tesla. Its holdings include the following exceptionally valuable collections:
• more than 160,000 original documents
• more than 2,000 books and periodicals
• more than 1,200 historical and technical exhibits
• more than 1,500 photographs and glass photographic plates of original technical items, instruments and devices
• more than 1,000 plans and drawings.