The famed investor and innovator donated that smaller initial sum to the original 2012 Indiegogo campaign called "Let's Build a G**damn Tesla Museum." That online campaign received an enthusiastic response from more than just Musk, with online contributors pitching in a cool $1.3 million. The momentum continued after the online campaign ended, as the project has since raised another $8 million.
Now it gets another boost from Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who promised the museum $1 million and a Tesla charging station.
The effort to convert Tesla's Wardenclyffe lab, in Shoreham, New York, into a museum is the doing of Matthew Inman, a self-admitted geek who is most famous for creating the comic-filled website The Oatmeal.
Earlier this year, in a comic reviewing the new Tesla Model S, Inman public appealed to Musk for more help. Musk quickly reached out to Inman and said he'd be happy to.
That promise was realized today, confirmed by a tweet and blog post by Inman.
"Elon Musk: from the deepest wells of my geeky little heart: thank you," Inman wrote. "This is amazing news. And it's Nikola Tesla's 158th birthday. Happy Nikola Tesla Day."
Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer and inventor who earned notoriety for early innovations in the field of electricity. He also took to the task of developing wireless communications. But his work was overshadowed by Thomas Edison, and many of his later theories and experiments lost money and further eroded his reputation. Tesla died sick, in debt, and lonely in a New York hotel room.
In recent years, contemporary scientists have begun to express greater appreciation for the inventor, arguing that had his work been better supported during his time, he might have had a more significant influence on the today's phone, data and electricity networks.
Musks' electric car company Tesla Motors is named after the inventor, though none of Tesla's descendants are involved in the enterprise.