Madame Tussauds is what you commonly think of when you hear about wax museums. This attraction is named after its founder, Marie Tussaud.
In addition to its London location, the museum is a popular tourist attraction worldwide. The museum is packed with the world’s most famous people, and it’s no wonder people are waiting days to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrities.
Have you ever wondered what Madame Tussauds is all about? Then familiarise yourself with background information ahead of your visit. Below are some fascinating facts about Madame Tussauds, the world’s most famous wax museum.
Tussaud was imprisoned
What many may not know is the famous sculptor served time in prison. This happened after other influential people recognized her talent, and she was offered the position of art tutor for Madame Elizabeth – the sister of King Louis XVI of France. As a result, she started working at the Palace of Versailles and came across Marie Antoinette, which led to her imprisonment during the French Revolution. She spent three months in jail while awaiting her execution.
She was released from prison because of her talent.
After more people discovered her talent, one of her influential friends suggested the artist use sculpting as a way of freedom. It was her task, however, to replicate the heads of aristocrats who were executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. After that, the heads were spiked and displayed on the Place de la Concorde for everyone to see. One of the displayed heads included sculptor figures of King Louis XVI, his wife Marie Antoinette and Marie Elizabeth.
Wax modelling was taught to Marie Tussaud at a very early age.
Originally named Marie Grosholtz, Marie Tussaud was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1761. At the age of six, Marie became interested in wax sculpting when her mother was hired as a housekeeper by a wax sculptor named Philippe Curtius. As soon as Philippe recognized her talent, Marie joined him in Paris and became an apprentice in wax modelling. At 15 years old, she completed her first wax sculpture of Voltaire.
The first Madame Tussaud Museum on Baker Street
With over 30 years of travelling with her exhibition, Marie Tussaud finally decided to build a museum.
A property on the upper floor of the Baker Street Bazaar in Baker Street, London, was then leased by her. In addition, this was Tussaud’s first permanent home in the UK after years of travelling. To catch a glimpse of Madame Tussaud’s history, book a stay at one of The Montcalm Club hotels and enjoy a comprehensive tour of the museum in its current location on Marylebone Street, London. However, if you can’t make it to London, then here are some of the other Madame Tussaud Locations
- New York
Amsterdam was the first overseas branch of Madame Tussauds, having opened in 1970. Madame Tussaud’s now has 21 locations worldwide, including six in the US and museums in Beijing, Tokyo, and Australia. Despite this, Madame Tussauds’ largest museum is still in London.
Current location of Madame Tussauds London
Due to space limitations and rising costs, the museum moved to its current location on Marylebone Road. In 1884, the museum opened at its current location for the first time. However
In February 1889, the company was sold to a group of businessmen led by Edwin Josiah Poyser due to a lack of initial capital. This led to its growing success and, as a result, being one of the world’s most famous wax museums.
Upon the death of her old mentor, Philippe Curtius, Marie Tussaud inherited his entire wax collection. As a result, she created an exhibition that she named Madame Tussaud after her marriage to Francois Tussaud. So when magician Paul Philidor invited her to London with her show, it was the most critical moment for her. Since she could not return to France due to the Napoleonic Wars, she stayed in the UK and toured the country with her exhibition.
Eerie Selling Points
The city of London is no stranger to horror stories, including Madame Tussauds. As early as its opening day, the museum was primarily known for its statues of infamous murderers, war criminals, and victims of the French revolution. A Chamber of Horror displaying the sculptures was used in early 1843 to entice people to visit its premises. Some other ways of experiencing London’s horror stories include the Jack the Ripper tour to heading to some of the hidden West End Bars of the city.
There are a lot of wax statues that have been lost from the early collections. Even though few sculptures from the collection survived the Fire in 1925 and the bombing of 1941, most collection pieces were destroyed. These devastations affected most parts of the city, leaving much of London in ruins. As a result, a new generation in architecture sprung up in hopes of restoring London’s former glory. The latest additions to London real estate include these Hotels In Shoreditch.
Some locals didn’t well receive the opening of the Berlin branch of Madame Tussauds. One particular native took it upon himself to destroy a wax figure of Adolf Hitler, which he considered offensive to pay homage to one of the most-hated men ever to live.
There are several 5 Star Hotels London within easy reach of the museum and perfect for travellers looking to be close to this incredible attraction. Other nearby places to check out during your stay include:
- Sherlock Holmes Statue
- John F Kennedy Memorial
- St Marylebone Parish Church
- London Beatles Store
- Royal Academy of Music Museum
Visiting the Museum
You can self-guide your tour through the attraction. To complete your tour, you will need between 60 and 90 minutes. The least crowded time is 9:00 AM, and the crowds tend to diminish significantly towards closing. Weekends are the worst time to go. If you plan to visit Madame Tussauds after mid-September, it is recommended that you go at a time when London is less crowded.