Madame Tussaud's London
Madame Tussauds, founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud, is a wax museum in Marylebone Road, London.
History and Foundation
Anna Maria Grosholtz (or Marie Tussaud) was born in Strasbourg, France in 1761. Her mother worked for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, as a housekeeper. Dr. Curtius was a physician skilled in wax modeling and taught Tussaud the art of wax modeling. She inherited the doctor’s vast collection of wax models after his death in 1794 and spent the next thirty three years travelling around Europe.
She married François Tussaud in 1795, which consequently led to the new name of the show: Madame Tussaud's.
In 1802, she took her exhibit to London, leaving behind her husband. She was unable to return to France due to the Franco-British war, so she travelled throughout Great Britain and Ireland exhibiting her collection.
From 1831, she took a series of short leases on the "Baker Street Bazaar". By 1835, Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened a museum.
She died in her sleep in London on April 16, 1850 at 88 years old. Marie’s grandsons moved the attraction, Madame Tussauds, to its present site in Marylebone Road in 1884.
Collections and Departments
Madame Tussauds is famous for recreating famous people, or celebrities, in wax. There are various collections or attractions classified into the following zones:
- The A-List Party was designed with wax figures spread throughout the room similar to a celebrity party. Warhol's Women, where you will find the figure of Andy Warhol and famous female celebrities he portrayed, like Jerry Hall.
- Premiere Night (Movie Room) is where visitors can see wax figures of celebrities from Hollywood, including: Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey, and Steven Spielberg, to name a few. Incidentally, it also houses five famous Bollywood figures namely: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as fictional characters, such as Tinker Bell and Shrek.
- The Sports Zone provides several interactive elements, where you can step up to the wax figures of prominent athletes.
- A Royal Appointment lets visitors have the opportunity to stand and rub shoulders with the Royals, such as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Diana, Princess of Wales; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; and Prince Harry of Wales.
- In Culture, a variety of cultural icons from different eras can be seen, including Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Pablo Picasso.
- Visitors can be entertained by a variety of music stars from across the decades in a backdrop of stage and glitter balls in Music Megastars. Music icons that can be seen include: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Madonna, Leona Lewis, and Amy Winehouse, to name a few.
- To get a glimpse of influential political and spiritual leaders of the world, both past and present, World Leaders, is the exhibit to see. It also includes controversial figures in history such as Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, and Robert Mugabe.
Some of the most notable exhibits in the museum are:
The Chamber of Horrors has wax figures of both serial killers and murderers and the original guillotine blade that killed Marie Antoinette.
The Scream experience, which is based on the idea that there are several killers skulking around the chamber, is a live-action, actor-led scare maze. Not all are attracted to this specific exhibit.
For visitors who want to get a feel on how wax figures are created and how Tussauds came about there is the Behind the Scenes and History of Madame Tussauds is the exhibit.
Finally, the Spirit of London ride is taxi ride through the history of London which starts in Tudor times and ends in the 1980s. It has a photograph taken near the end of the ride, with a commentary in a few languages.
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