The star power is so bright that the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is one of London’s popular landmarks. The wax models often look really similar to the real person that you don’t even have to stalk celebrities to pose for a photo with them! Once just a small museum in Baker Street, London, it has now expanded into a full-fledged franchise business with at least one museum in big international cities.
Yes, yes… we all know how famous the wax museum is. But, did you know how it all started? Here, we’ve compiled some fun facts that you can show off to your friends next time!
Madame Tussauds was a real person
Didn’t see this one coming, right? But, yes, the museum’s namesake was founded by Marie Tussaud who learned the art of sculpting from Dr. Philippe Curtius, a physician skilled in the art of wax modeling. After his death in 1794, she inherited the doctor’s vast collection of wax models and spent the next 33 years traveling around Europe. By 1835, Tussaud had settled down in Baker Street, London and opened a museum. Ever since it opened, the museum has been leaving visitors excited and star-struck with the various popular figures featured in the wax museum. (Remember, this was a time when photographs weren’t a thing yet!) Soon after, as they say, the rest is history.
It’s a tedious process to create one wax figure
As one might expect, the process that it takes to make them look real is astonishingly complicated. Each subject is first invited for a sitting to get their correct body measurements, where more than 250 precise measurements and 180 photographs are taken to accurately create the figure. If the subject is a historical figure or has already passed away, the studio artists will research the subject’s measurements through pictures or videos.
To ensure a wax figure’s lifelike quality, each strand of hair is inserted individually. Yep, you read that right! It takes approximately five weeks for the hair to be completed as there are about 100,000 hairs on each head. To create veins in each eyeball, red silk threads are usually used, while knotted rope is for the look of veins on the body. It’s surely a job not for the faint-hearted!
Also, fun fact: All wax figures are made 2% larger than the actual person because this is how much the wax is expected to melt during the entire process.
Every wax figure receives a red carpet treatment
The wax figures don’t look like they are without an A-list standard of maintenance. The figures have their hair washed and make-up retouched regularly. The hair of the figures are even conditioned to ensure a pristine quality. Sometimes, a celebrity’s personal stylist would provide essential tips! Quite a treatment, eh?
Not everyone wants to be honored with a statue
And not everyone deserves a wax figure. Adolf Hitler’s wax figure in Madame Tussauds Berlin was decapitated by a German man in 2009. “It disturbs me that Hitler should become a tourist attraction,” the attacker said.
The museum also keeps up with the latest news. Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step away from the British Royal Family, Madame Tussauds London has decided to remove their wax figures from the Royal Family set. The pair previously stood alongside The Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Madame Tussauds said they will be separated from the family to mirror their “progressive new role within the Royal institution.”
There’s no apostrophe in Madame Tussauds.
Don’t worry, grammar geeks, it’s not a grammar mistake! Since Madame Tussaud no longer owns the franchise, Merlin Entertainment group decided that there’s really no need for the possessive-indicating apostrophe. So, they simply got rid of it!
Now that you know more about the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, your visit will be sweeter. Take a picture, plenty of selfies and savor every moment with your favorite celebrities and icons at Madame Tussauds. For Southeast Asian residents, we don’t have to go all the way to London. Opened to the public in 2000, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is the first Madame Tussauds museum in Asia!
Enjoy great savings when you purchase your Madame Tussauds Hong Kong ticket on Traveloka! The Hong Kong museum will be unveiling new wax figures which include Ariana Grande, Lay Zhang and Yayoi! It’s certainly an experience not to be missed while you’re in Hong Kong.
Planning your trip to the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum? Your adventure starts right here with Traveloka.