|About the museum:
The Nikola Tesla Memorial Centre presents the life and genius of Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), one of the greatest scientists, inventors, and humanists, born in Smiljan near Gospić.
After its reconstruction and reopening in 2006, the Memorial Centre now includes: the house where Tesla was born, along with a permanent exhibition; the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul (where Tesla's father, Milutin, was the priest) and its cemetery; a farmhouse; the creek of Vaganac; the plateau at the foot of Bogdanić Hill; and a theme park consisting of an open-air auditorium for the exhibition of Tesla’s inventions and outdoor lectures, a multimedia centre, a bridge/platform for demonstrations, a hi-tech play area for children, a monument of Tesla – the work of the sculptor Mile Blažević, three stone sculptures, and stone benches created by the architect Zdenko Kolacio in 1976.
The open-air segments of the centre exhibit the following inventions: a small-scale replica of the test centre in Colorado Springs used by Tesla for the study of lightning; experiments in the wireless transmission of power and high frequency electricity; a prototype of the robot ship built in 1898, operated by radio waves; and a turbine constructed with a series of parallel disks.
The museum presents the complex personality of Nikola Tesla, as a scientist and as a man.
A timeline is used to illustrate the complexity of historical events surrounding Tesla's path from his native Smiljan to America. Tesla's images and thoughts, recorded in My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, guide visitors through the exhibition.
The timeline provides a clear overview of Tesla's biographical data from 1850, when his family came to Smiljan, to 1943 when Tesla died. It also gives a chronological account of historical events in Croatia and the world. The story of Nikola Tesla's life is told via a selection of the most important dates and events in his life,his words and thoughts, and documents and photographs. It begins with his childhood in Smiljan, where he grew up in a loving family home surrounded by a beautiful landscape. His story continues with his schooling in Lika, his studies in Graz, and the life he led in many other European towns and the United States. Everything is presented through yet unpublished documentary material.
Video recordings incorporated into the timeline include Tesla’s education, the Niagara Falls power plant (from a water mill he created as a child on Vaganac creek to the creation of a hydro-electric power plant), and his death.
“Tesla's presence”, both physical and spiritual, is particularly emphasised throughout the exhibition. His personality has always attracted attention, and still remains a mystery. Tesla was an uncommon person, both as a scientist and as a man.
A segment of the exhibition invites visitors to interact with the installation by pulling “interactive drawers” that give glimpses into Tesla's personality, habits, eccentricities and personal mission.
Two computers and internet booths enable visitors to access and research web data on Tesla. There is also an internal database which has only been partially exploited for the exhibition (for example, Tesla’s correspondence with his uncle, periodicals, FBI documents and related material). There are also feature and documentary films.
Tesla was primarily an inventor, a genius of inventions, a wizard of electricity and light. The exhibition in the attic of Tesla's native house gives insight into his world of thought and inventiveness, as reflected in his research. The attic houses four replicas of his most important inventions that changed the world: the electric motor, the “Egg of Columbus”, the Tesla transformer, and the Tesla turbine.
Crucial moments of Tesla's scientific work are also highlighted: his discovery of the rotating magnetic field; his departure for the USA; his conflict with Edison and the success of his alternating current system at the World’s Columbian Exposition; Tesla’s laboratories in New York; experiments in high frequency currents and the wireless transmission of electromagnetic oscillations and teleautomatics; and recent technological developments based on Tesla’s inventions and events he predicted.