Madame Tussauds is a famous wax museum of London that has branches at major cities world over. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud and was popular as “Madame Tussaud’s”, but the apostrophe is no longer used and it has now simply become Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds is a major center of tourist attraction in London, which displays the waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. It is situated on the corner of Allsop Place and Marylebone Road as to the north of Central London. The nearest Tube station close to it is Baker Street, that is on the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Metropolitan , Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines. Its green dome is used to house the London Planetarium.
After having a successful tour of the UK, Madame Tussauds made a permanent base for her exhibition in London in the Baker Street Bazaar in 1835. There visitors used to pay six pence as to meet the biggest names of their time. From there attraction moved to its present location in Marylebone Road in 1884. From here it can be told about how this museum came into existence and its present shape and form.
Marie Tussaud, was born in Strasbourg, France and her mother used to work as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, who was a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. She made her first wax figure of Voltaire in 1777. At that time she even made wax model of other famous personalities Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. During the French Revolution she modelled many prominent victims. After the doctor’s death she inherited his huge collection of wax models and thereafter spent around 33 years traveling throughout the Europe. In 1795 she married to François Tussaud. In 1802, she went to London but due to Franco-British war, she was not able to return to France, therefore she travelled throughout Great Britain and Ireland showing her collection. Exhibiting her collection from 1831 she took a series of short leases on the “Baker Street Bazaar” and it became her first permanent home in 1836 and there opened a museum.
One of the primary attractions of her museum was the Chamber of Horrors that exhibits victims of the French Revolution and newly created figures of murderers and other criminals.
By 1883 due to lack of space and rising cost of the Baker Street site her grandson (Joseph Randall) shifted the museum to its current location at on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries were started from on 14 July 1884 and were a huge success. Madame Tussaud’s wax museum presently is a popular tourist attraction in London and has branches at Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Dubai, Hamburg, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Moscow, New York City, Shanghai, Vienna and Washington D.C.
The present day wax figures at Tussauds include historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. Known as “Madame Tussauds” museums its present owner are Merlin Entertainments, that acquired The Tussauds Group in May 2007.
There are many section of the museum, the most popular one are:
• A-List Party: This is the first room while entering the museum as it showcases personalities from the United States including wax sculptures of Robert Pattinson, Morgan Freeman, Leo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Tara Palmer Tompkinson.
• Warhol’s Women: The Warhol’s Women zone has figure of Andy Warhol as well other female celebrities portrayed by her like Liza Minnelli, and Jerry Hall.
• Premiere Night (Movie Room): This area is famous for celebrities from Bollywood as well as Hollywood. It is consisted of sculptors of celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, Audrey Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Whoopi Goldberg and Marilyn Monroe. It also has many fictional characters like as Shrek and the smallest wax figure ever made, Tinker Bell.
• Sports Zone: This area undoubtedly is for sport personalities like as there tiger woods can be seen as putt a golf ball with Tiger Woods, stand on boxing scales next to Mohammed Ali and see what ‘weight’ you would qualify for in boxing.
• A Royal Appointment: In this section there are stationed wax statues of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales.
• Culture: In the culture section one can enjoy wax statutes of cultural and scientific icons like William Shakespeare, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Pablo Picasso and Charles Darwin.
• Music Megastars: This section contains wax statues of stars including Beyonce, Madonna, Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Amy Winehouse, Tom Jones, Bob Marley, Justin Timberlake and Freddie Mercury.
• World Leaders: This area is consisted of world leader’s area from political and spiritual segments. The latest addition to this segment is figure of Barack Obama dominating this area. Other leaders that have their wax statues here are Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Nicolas Sarkozy, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair, Benazir Bhutto, Martin Luther King, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Gandhi.
• Chamber of Horrors and Scream: The horror section of Madame Tussauds, showcases serial killers and murders. As Guy Fawkes and Dennis Nilsen are placed here. It also shows the original guillotine blade that killed Marie Antoinette. The Scream experience is a live-action, actor-led scare maze.
• Marvel Super Heroes 4D: Here are located wax figures of super heroes like incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Spiderman and wolverine.