Nikola Tesla was one of the world's most influential thinkers in modern times. Since his death in 1943, many museums have opened up around the world in celebration of his life and times.
Here we explore one of the most interesting and fun of them all - The Tesla Museum in Belgrade.
Where is the newest Nikola Tesla Museum located?
According to Scientific American, one of the newest museums dedicated to Nikola Tesla is located on the grounds of his former laboratory in New York. Its funding was helped, in part, by Elon Musk who pledged $1 million to its construction.
Located at Wardenclyffe, The Tesla Science Center this museum is dedicated to "empower all people around the world to dream, invent, experiment and create the newest, most disruptive innovations of our future for the benefit of humanity and the environment."
The museum is a not-for-profit organization and is well worth a visit.
What was Nikola Tesla's nationality?
Nikola Tesla was born in Smiljian on the 10th of July 1856. This was part of the Austrian Empire at the time and is now located in modern-day Croatia.
He was an ethnic Serb but later emigrated to the United States and was naturalized in the 1890s. For this reason, he is often quoted as being both Austrian and American.
But others suggest that he was Croat or Serb rather than Austrian. In fact, this has led to a diplomatic row between Croatia and Serbia.
Who inspired Nikola?
All great minds throughout the ages have been influenced or inspired by their forebears. They are all, literally and figuratively "standing on the shoulders of giants".
After beginning his formal education, Tesla would later write that he became incredibly interesting in electricity thanks to his physics professor at Polytechnic school. This would influence his future forever.
Things you need to know before visiting the museum
Here are 7+ things you should be aware of before planning a visit to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade.
1. It might be worthwhile going on a tour
Like most museums, you are more than welcome to tour it under your own steam. But you may find you don't get the most out of the visit if you do.
Moreover, most people who have already visited it do highly recommend taking a guided tour. The museum's official tour is also the only way to see an introductory video about the museum, its exhibits, and experiments.
The tour also includes some electricity experiments that are one of the highlights of the museum.
Tours are usually held in both English and Serbian and last around 45 minutes. It is included in the ticket price but be sure to check the daily schedule to join one or call ahead to find out when they are.
2. Can you pay with credit cards?
This is a big consideration to take before planning a visit to the Tesla Museum. It does not accept credit cards and you can only purchase tickets with cash.
They also only accept Serbian Dinars and will not take any other foreign currency. If you also want to buy some souvenirs you will want to make sure you have some extra cash for those too.
The museum's shop does offer some books in English as well.
Ticket prices are about 500 RSD, or just under $5. Children under seven can enter for free and groups of ten or more get a discount of around $3 each but must be booked in advance.
3. What kinds of experiments can you expect?
If you have decided to take the guided tour (well done you) you will be treated to a short video about the museum as previously mentioned, After this has ended, you will be treated with some amazing and fun experiments.
Visitors will get to play with Tesla coils (of course), make lightbulb lightsabers and you can even volunteer to get an electric shock if you are brave enough.
The experiments are one of the highlights of the museums and tend to be well-loved by anyone who has already been.
But you should be made aware that if you have a pacemaker you will be asked to step out during the experiments. The chances of something going wrong are very slim but its best not to take a gamble.
If you do have one, be sure to listen to and take the advice of tour guides on this matter.
4. Why is the Tesla Museum in Belgrade different from the one in Croatia?
Although they have similar names, after all the subject is the same, the are not connected in any other way. There also happen to be other Tesla-related museums around the world too.
For example, there are some in New York and Colorado in the U.S.
The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb, Croatia is a technical and science museum. It does also include information on the man himself and his great inventions.
This was, however, already an existing museum before it was renamed in honor of Tesla in about 2015. The Tesla Museum in Belgrade is, however, a smaller one and is more devoted to the man, his life and work.
It has many examples of his papers, patents, and creations.
5. Is the museum family and child-friendly?
Absolutely! In fact, you could say that they will probably enjoy it more than adults.
Of course, younger children may get a little spooked by some of the experiments and sounds but for older children, it will be something they will never forget.
The guided tour will generally make sure children get involved with the experiments. You'll probably find it will be quite hard to convince them to leave at the end of the visit.
6. When is the museum open?
The best way to check when the museum is open is by checking out their website. But, at the time of writing, the museum is open between 9:45 am and 8 am every day except Mondays.
Interestingly, the plaque outside the entrance gate is actually wrong. This is much older and has not been updated since the museum changed its opening hours a while back.
7. Some other handy things to know before going
Here is some further helpful information to be aware of before visiting the museum (thanks to sofiadventures.com).: -
- Do not take food or drink with you. It will not be permitted once you enter.
- Cellphone reception is not the best inside the museum. But there is WiFi there for free.
- The museum is quite small and does not have a cloakroom. If you have a large bag with you, you'll be asked to leave it in the secure holding area until you leave.
- You are free to take as many photographs as you like and are encouraged to during the guided tour. This includes parts of the intro video.
- While photographs are permitted, taking extended recordings is not. Especially for the introductory video.