Elon Musk Donated $1 Million to the Tesla Museum

The museum project was kickstarted—or more accurately, Indiegogo'd—by Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal.

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Jul 10 2014, 11:30pm
Image: Shutterstock

Elon Musk celebrated Nikola Tesla's 158th birthday today by donating a cool million to help convert Tesla's old Wardenclyffe Tower laboratory into a Tesla museum. The museum project was kickstarted—or more accurately, Indiegogo'd—by Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal, who is well-established as one of the Serbian inventor's most dedicated fanboys.

"Elon Musk: from the deepest wells of my geeky little heart: thank you. This is amazing news," Inman wrote in a post today. "And it's Nikola Tesla's 158th birthday."

But while a million dollars is no chump change, it is less than the eight million dollars Inman had originally needled Musk for in his May 2014 review of the Model S.

"The money we raised was enough to SAVE a museum," Inman wrote of his $1,370,461 Indiegogo campaign, which Musk supported, in a post asking Musk to fund the museum entirely. "It wasn't enough to actually BUILD one." 

The comic was a blatant quid-pro-quo request: Inman would tell his millions of followers that Musk's Model S was like an "intergalactic spaceboat of light and wonder" or "a Ferrari that got porked by a lucky dragon" if Musk ponied up for the museum.

He went on to point out just how rich Musk really is, and how the entrepreneur sunk almost a million dollars on the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me, suggesting that if Musk had the cash lying around to buy that, he might as well pay for the Tesla museum.

"During our initial Tesla Museum fundraiser, you supported the project and donated $2,500," Inman wrote. "I'm asking you to donate again, but this time donate the full $8 million."

Musk responded to the request on Twitter immediately, but Inman will have to flatter a few other billionaires before he gets the full eight million. After all, if getting lowballed by Elon Musk still results in a seven-figure kickback, then publicly pressuring billionaires is clearly a keen fundraising strategy.