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Madame Tussauds

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Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium
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Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium

Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London, with branches in Amsterdam, Hong Kong (Victoria Peak), Las Vegas, Copenhagen and New York City. It was setup by Marie Tussaud who was a wax sculptor.

Madame Tussaud (1761-1850), born Marie Grosholtz worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius, a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. In 1765, Curtius made a waxwork of Marie Jean du Barry, Louis XV's mistress. A cast of that mould is the oldest work currently on display. The first exhibition of Curtius' waxworks was shown in 1770, and attracted a lot of people. The exhibition moved to the Palais Royal in 1776. He opened a second location on Boulevard du Temple in 1782, the "Caverne des Grands Voleurs", a precursor to the later Chamber of Horrors.

Tussaud created her first wax figure, of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in 1778. Other famous persons she modelled at that time include Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. During the French Revolution she made wax death masks of prominent victims. When Curtius died in 1794, he left his collection of waxworks to Marie. In 1802, she went to London. As a result of the Franco-English war, she was unable to return to France, so with her collection she travelled throughout Great Britain and Ireland. She established her first permanent exhibition on Baker Street in 1835 (on the "Baker Street Bazaar").

One of the main attractions of her museum was the Chamber of Horrors. This part of the exhibition included some victims of the French Revolution and also newly created figures of murders and other criminals. The name was given by a contributor to Punch in 1845.

Other famous people were added to the exhibition, including Horatio Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott. Some of the sculptures done by Tussaud herself still exist. In 1842, she made a self portrait which is now on display at the entrance of her museum.

The museum moved to its current location on Marylebone Road in 1884. In 1925, a fire destroyed many of the figures, but fortunately the moulds survived, allowing the historical waxworks to be remade.

Madame Tussaud's wax museum has now grown to become a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating the London Planetarium in its west wing. It has expanded with branches in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hong Kong (Victoria Peak), Las Vegas, and New York City. Today wax figures of the Tussauds include historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. Known as "Madame Tussauds" museums (no apostrophe), they are owned by a leisure company called The Tussauds Group.

List of Wax Figures

Adolf Hitler

Aishwarya Rai

Amitabh Bachchan

Arnold

Colin Farrell

David Beckham

Diana

Elle Macpherson

George Clooney

Jennifer Lopez

Nelson Mandela

Pope John Paul

Salma Hayek

Spice Girls

Victoria Beckham

Woody Allen

References and external links

de:Madame Tussauds eo:Marie TUSSAUD he:מאדם טוסו nl:Marie Tussaud pt:Madame Tussauds

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