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Madame Tussauds Museum: a historical excursion and shocking exhibits


Madame Tussauds is one of the most amazing and stunning museums in the world, an exclusive wax museum. The main fund of the museum is located in the fashionable Marylebone district of London and has branches in 24 other cities, including New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Berlin, Shanghai, Hong Kong. Original wax sculptures of famous politicians, idols, musicians, actors, scientists are the unique sights of Great Britain.


The history of the creation of the museum is closely connected with the original biography of its founder, Marie Grosholtz, married Tussauds. She was born in 1761 in Strasbourg. Her mother worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philip Curtis, who made anatomical copies of human bodies from wax. Noticing the passion and talent of the girl, the doctor began to teach her his skills.

In 1777, Marie created her first wax figure, Voltaire, followed by Franklin and Rousseau. At the age of 19, she was invited as an art teacher to the sister of the French King Louis XVI in Versailles. During the French Revolution, Marie's activities gained great popularity in Paris, she removed death masks from great personalities, famous revolutionaries: Robespierre, Marat; Queen Marie Antoinette. After the death of Dr. Curtis in 1794, his collection of collections passed to her. After surviving revolution, prison and an unsuccessful marriage, Madame Tussauds begins to demonstrate wax figures around England and Ireland.

At the age of 74, together with his sons, he opens a permanent exhibition on the legendary Baker Street (1835), famous for the works of Conan Doyle about Sherlock Holmes. The number of exhibits grew, more spacious premises were required, and the museum was moved to Marylebone Road, where the first exposition opened in 1884. It was a huge success and became the starting point for the creation of subsequent sculptures located in various countries of the world. The business of Madame Tussauds after her death was continued by descendants.


How is realism achieved when creating wax figures?

For many hours, measurements are taken from living originals (over 150 measurements); if the prototype of the future model is not alive, photographs are used.

Next, there is a choice of a pose and its fixing: the legs are made of hard metals, the arms are made of aluminum. The frame is ready and a week later it is covered with a layer of clay, wax parts are cast from casts based on it. The natural shade of human skin is achieved thanks to the dye, which is mixed into clay molds filled with purified and heated beeswax to 74 degrees. Then, irregularities are “cosmetically” removed from the cooled surface of the sculpture.

To make a wig, real hair is used, inserting them in separate strands into an artificial scalp.


The process of making a model (worth 150 thousand pounds) is long - from two months to six months, the replenishment of the collection is slow, 15-20 copies a year. At present time, about 20 artists are working on each model, still using the Madame Tussauds technique; clothing and accessories are selected from the wardrobe of the celebrities themselves.

Halls and exhibits: at the entrance to the museum, visitors are greeted by a sculpture of a small elderly woman, Madame Tussauds herself, created by her at the age of 81. All exhibits are divided into thematic halls.


“World Arena” - the largest “time travel” hall, consisting of sculptures of politicians, cultural figures of different eras: Madame Dubari, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Indira Gandhi, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin; Queen Elizabeth II, members of the royal family - Princess Diana, Princes William and Harry, Kate Middleton. In another part of the hall there were: the legendary Liverpool four “The Beatles”, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, opera singer Placido Domingo.


“The Room of Horrors” makes a lasting impression. Here are scenes of crimes, instruments of terrible torture; copies of sinister killers, maniacs and villains - for example, the famous Jack the Ripper, the severed heads of eight wives of the English King Henry VIII Tudor. Inspection of the collection is prohibited for children, pregnant women, people with heart pathology.

“The A List Party” is like an elite club for the elite, David and Victoria Beckham, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez have gathered here.

“The Premiere Night” hall contains wax sculptures of American Hollywood stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, Jim Carrey, Harrison Ford; Indian actors - Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan; copies of cartoon characters - Spider-Man, Hulk, Shrek; characters from comics and films Marvel Comics, “Star Wars”.


Interesting facts:

  • the appointment of a new president or the rise of a bright star in Hollywood has a backlash - the appearance of a new wax statue in the museum;
  • the museum houses 14 versions of Michael Jackson figures;
  • the only person who refused to pose was Mother Teresa, who explained that “the time spent for this could be put to better use”;
  • the figure of Adolf Hitler was repeatedly attacked and bullied by museum visitors, as a result of which it was placed behind a glass fence;
  • with the help of visual and sound special effects, the spirit of different eras is recreated, some modern wax figures can move, blink, even talk;
  • thrill-seeking tourists can stay overnight at the museum for 100 pounds.


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