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Fascinating Madame Tussauds Facts

Undoubtedly, Madame Tussauds is a globally renowned museum, drawing millions of visitors annually. 

Anyone deemed prominent enough has a life-size wax figure here, from Hollywood superstars to royal families. 

This empire continues a tradition started by a woman two centuries ago in London and now spans over 20 museums worldwide. 

Yet, beneath the expertly crafted statues lies a history more intriguing than one might think. 

Here are some fascinating facts about Madame Tussauds Wax Museum that you probably weren’t aware of:

The Origins of Madame Tussauds

The story of Madame Tussauds begins with Marie Tussaud, born in Strasbourg, France, in 1761. 

An art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Marie honed her wax sculpting skills amidst the opulence of the Royal Court at Versailles. 

However, the French Revolution brought turmoil and a stark turn in her career—Marie was forced to prove her allegiance to the revolutionaries by making death masks of executed nobles. 

In 1835, she established her first permanent exhibition on Baker Street in London, laying the foundation for what would become a global phenomenon.

The Chamber of Horrors

One of the original attractions of Madame Tussauds, the Chamber of Horrors, offered a grim reflection of Marie’s work during the Revolution. 

This exhibit displayed figures of notorious criminals, victims of the guillotine, and other macabre historical figures, fascinating and horrifying visitors in equal measure. 

Though the themes have evolved, the Chamber of Horrors remains a testament to the museum’s darker beginnings.

Surviving Catastrophes

Madame Tussauds has faced and overcome numerous challenges throughout its history. 

The London Museum suffered significant damage during World War II bombings, and a fire in 1925 destroyed many of its historical figures. 

Despite these setbacks, the museum has rebuilt and restored its collection, demonstrating resilience and a commitment to preserving its legacy for future generations.

The Art of Wax Figure Making

Creating a wax figure for Madame Tussauds is a meticulous and labor-intensive process that can take up to six months. 

Artists begin with detailed measurements and photographs of the subject to ensure accuracy. 

Then, they sculpt a clay model, which serves as the basis for the wax mold. 

Every hair is inserted individually, and all details, from the eyes’ color to the skin’s texture, are carefully replicated to achieve lifelike realism.

The Global Footprint of Madame Tussauds

The first Madame Tussauds overseas location opened in Amsterdam in 1970. 

Still, now it has grown into a global brand, with museums in major cities across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. 

Each location is tailored to reflect the culture and celebrities of its home country, offering a unique experience. 

Notable museums include those in New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Hong Kong, each showcasing a mix of international stars and local heroes, illustrating the museum’s worldwide appeal.

Makeup and hair are regularly touched up 

Every day, before the opening of Madame Tussauds, two maintenance workers meticulously inspect each sculpture, providing a facial wash and touch-ups to their makeup. 

This likely closely mirrors the care they receive in real life! 

The regular upkeep routines for the models involve hair washing and makeup touch-ups, a laborious process taking six months to complete. 

Notably, many of the contemporary real-life characters in the museum personally selected their clothing in addition to undergoing maintenance!

Every figure is 2% larger than the actual person

All wax figures are manufactured 2% larger than the actual person during the procedure since it is the amount expected to melt over six months. 

There is no Apostrophe in Madame Tussauds

Many individuals frequently make the mistake of adding an apostrophe to Madame Tussauds. 

Although your inner language nerd would think Madame Tussauds is incorrect, it’s not. 

Merlin Entertainment Group determined that an apostrophe indicating possessiveness was unnecessary because Madame Tussaud no longer owned the brand.

Interactive Experiences

Madame Tussauds has evolved from static wax displays to interactive experiences, allowing visitors to engage with the figures in dynamic settings. 

From posing with Hollywood stars on the red carpet to stepping into the shoes of a superhero, these experiences bring the wax figures to life. 

The museum’s ability to adapt and incorporate technology, such as augmented reality, ensures a continually fresh and engaging visitor experience.

The Celebrity Approval Process

Creating a new figure at Madame Tussauds often involves direct collaboration with celebrities. 

This process ensures that the wax likenesses are as accurate and flattering as possible. 

Celebrities often participate in the sitting process, where artists take over 200 measurements and photographs. 

Some stars, including sports icons and actors, have donated personal items to complete their figures’ looks, adding authenticity and a personal touch to the exhibits.

More Than Just Humans

While Madame Tussauds is famous for its lifelike human figures, the museum also features wax models of famous animals and fictional characters. 

From the gorilla King Kong to the extraterrestrial E.T., these figures showcase the artists’ versatility and cater to a wide range of interests, further broadening the appeal of Madame Tussauds.

The smallest piece of Madame Tussauds art

Tinkerbell’s wax sculpture is the tiniest sculpture in the exhibit. 

The London Museum is home to the 5.5-inch statue.

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