The First Chapter of Our Story at TSCW
In honor of TSCW’s 4th Annual Global Gala, we’re sharing stories from supporters and thought it fitting to start with someone who was there from the beginning: Jane Alcorn, TSCW founding Board President and the activist who helped energize the movement that saved Wardenclyffe.
How did you get involved in creating the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe? What’s the story about how TSCW got started and how Tesla’s lab was saved? And why did you decide to try to save Wardenclyffe in the first place?
I get asked these questions frequently and as I reflect on them, I am astounded that I’ve been involved in this project for over 30 years! The “why” is easy: I’m interested in education and improving science education, in history, and in improving my community. And I don’t easily give up on goals I set for myself.
TSCW began as an offshoot of a small science museum that was housed in our local high school. The school grew and the popularity of the museum grew, and the need to relocate became apparent. As a member of the science museum Board, I was involved in finding us a new home. I knew that Nikola Tesla’s former laboratory was in the community—although it was hidden behind a chain link fence and overgrown vegetation—but few other people in the community did. My neighbor Peggy McKinnon Clark was a Tesla fan, and she told me about the genius scientist and inventor who contributed so much to the world, but whose name was virtually forgotten. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have known about him either!
Our motto at the beginning was Pursuing the Dream. It reminded us of Tesla’s dream to bring power and communication to people around the world, and our dream to establish a science center. On the day we went to New York City to close on the purchase of Wardenclyffe, we saw a billboard that read “First a Dream.” It was part of a quote from Carl Sandburg: “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”
From a small organization of a few people who dreamed of creating a science center in Tesla’s old lab, TSCW has become known worldwide. From a group with only a few dollars in the bank, we have become a nonprofit that raised—and continues to raise—millions of dollars toward the establishment of a first-class museum and learning center. From just a few people with a dream, our project is now a dream shared by thousands.
In working to save Wardenclyffe and create a science center, I have met some of the most wonderful people. I became friends with Nikola Tesla’s closest remaining relative, his great nephew William Terbo, with whom I enjoyed many conversations and visits. I was able to visit Tesla’s childhood home in Croatia and the museum in his honor in Serbia where his personal effects are housed. I’ve met heads of state, celebrities, and awesome people from all over the world. The common thread that brought us together is our appreciation of Nikola Tesla. I think the best part of this mission has been working with people towards a common goal. It’s so heartening and satisfying to work with others on something much bigger than oneself, with the purpose of honoring a person whose goal was to improve the human condition.
I hope you join me in celebrating this dream at the TSCW 4th Annual Virtual Galaon December 1st. The Future Is Now Gala will pay tribute to Nikola Tesla and our 2022 Honoree, Dr. Arogyaswami Paulraj. If you want to learn more about the Gala and why Dr. Paulraj is a Tesla of Today, please click here.
With sincere thanks for your support,
TSCW 4th Annual Virtual Global Gala
Top 3 Reasons People Care about WARDENCLYFFE
Thousands travel to Wardenclyffe every year, even though it’s still under construction. Why do people gravitate to this 16-acre site on the north shore of Long Island, NY?
1. Wardenclyffe is the only surviving laboratory of Nikola Tesla, one of history’s most influential inventors. How influential? Tesla invented the alternating current induction motor that is the basis of our modern power grid, not to mention radio, remote control, neon lighting, and other innovations that continue to benefit humanity. Wardenclyffe is recognized globally as an iconic landmark in the history of innovation, the place where Tesla built an 18-story tower as part of a vision for wireless communication and power that was far ahead of its time.
2. TSCW is making an impact in the here and now. As part of our nonprofit mission, TSCW educates and inspires learners of all ages from over 100 countries. We host in-person and virtual events that are highly interactive and immersive, such as webcasts where attendees participate in a live Q&A with global thought leaders… STEAM Expos with hands-on robotics demos… Hackathon camp where kids learn to solve humanitarian issues with computer code… and much more. TSCW collaborates with schools, businesses, STEAM advocates, global innovators, Tesla enthusiasts, and others who want to make an impact through our mission.
3. Wardenclyffe is being renovated into a Tesla Museum and global science center of the future. Together with supporters, TSCW is transforming Tesla’s historic laboratory into a place of exploration, education, and entrepreneurship. Visitors will explore the past, present and future of innovation through immersive exhibits. The next level of STEAM education will be offered with a focus on transformative learning experiences for all ages. An accelerator will provide emerging technologists with the resources and support needed to succeed as Teslas of today and tomorrow.