Madame Tussauds History

Madame Tussaud, originally Marie Grosholtz, was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1761. 

She learned about making wax models from Dr. Philippe Curtius, a Swiss doctor and sculptor. 

He became her teacher when Marie’s mom started working for him.

Initial Period as Tutor to Royalty

Marie quickly learned how to make wax models and started doing it herself when she was 16. 

People noticed her talent, and she became an art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister at the fancy Palace of Versailles. 

She mingled with influential people, making wax models of famous figures.

Living in the palace was a big deal for Marie, and she experienced the luxury of the French court for the first time. 

At this time, she created her first notable waxwork, a realistic model of the famous writer Voltaire.

Marie also created wax figures of important people like Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 

Without realizing it, her work documented the essential personalities of that time, giving a unique view of the eventful period in French history.

During the French Revolution

The French Revolution started in 1789, and they went after the king and his people. 

Even though Marie was close to the royal family, she survived all the chaos. 

But because of her connection to them, she got imprisoned during the scary Reign of Terror.

When they let her out, she had to show that she supported the revolution by making death masks of nobles who were executed, like the king and queen. 

These masks became part of her “Chamber of Horrors,” a collection she later showcased in her exhibits.

Madame Tussauds’s Time in Britain

After the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Tussaud (formerly Marie) moved to Britain in 1802 with her sons. 

She didn’t open a permanent place right away.

Instead, she traveled around, showing her waxworks in towns and cities across Britain and Ireland.

She had wax figures from the French Revolution, famous folks, and a “Chamber of Horrors” with criminals and scary scenes that got much attention.

After traveling for over 30 years, Madame Tussaud settled on Baker Street in London in 1835. She set up a semi-permanent exhibition called “Madame Tussaud’s.”

She wanted a stable home for her family and a good place for her growing collection of wax figures.

Origin of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

The museum became popular with both locals and tourists. 

Madame Tussaud worked hard until she passed away in 1850, constantly adding new wax figures and ensuring the business did well. 

After she died, her sons and later her grandsons carried on the tradition. 

1884, they moved the exhibition to its current spot on Marylebone Road because Baker Street Bazaar was getting bigger.

Destruction by Fire and World Wars

Madame Tussauds faced many challenges. 

In 1925, a big fire destroyed the original Madame Tussauds in London, melting many wax figures, including some dating back to Marie Tussaud. 

But they rebuilt with the help of stored molds and replicas.

During World War II in 1940, German bombs hit the museum in London, causing significant damage. 

A famous waxwork, the “Sleeping Beauty,” was lost. 

Despite these setbacks, the museum recovered each time, always ready to amaze visitors with new wax figures.

Madame Tussauds at Present

From its simple beginnings in late 1700s France to becoming a famous tourist spot, Madame Tussauds has traveled a long journey. 

It’s a tribute to its founder, showing her strength, creativity, and talent in recreating history with wax. 

Today, Madame Tussauds has museums in many countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Thailand, Hungary, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Austria, Australia, Japan, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. 

Each of these Madame Tussauds Museums features figures that connect with the local people. 

It’s not just about meeting lifelike models of famous people; it’s an experience worth checking out! Get your tickets now!


When was Madame Tussaud born?

Madame Tussaud, born Marie Grosholtz, was born on December 1, 1761, in Strasbourg, France.

How did Madame Tussaud learn wax modeling?

Madame Tussaud learned wax modeling from her uncle, Philippe Curtius, who was a physician skilled in wax modeling. Curtius taught her when she was a child, and when he moved to Paris, he took his 6-year-old apprentice with him. Tussaud created her first wax sculpture of Voltaire in 1777.

When did Madame Tussaud open her first permanent exhibition in London?

Madame Tussaud opened her first permanent exhibition in London in 1835. She settled in Baker Street, London, and established her museum, featuring wax figures of notable individuals and the infamous Chamber of Horrors.

In how many countries does Madame Tussauds have museums?

Madame Tussauds is at 23 distinctive locations worldwide, from New York to Shanghai, Amsterdam to Sydney, and London, where the journey originated.

How often does Madame Tussauds update its wax figure collection?

Madame Tussauds updates its wax figure collection regularly to keep the exhibits fresh and engaging for visitors.

The frequency of updates may vary depending on the location and the demand for new figures.

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