History Of Madame Tussauds Museum In New York

Madame Tussauds Museum In New York

Feature Photo: singh_lens / Shutterstock.com

Wax museums host wax sculptures. Some of them have more unusual collections than others, as shown by those containing the wax sculptures once used to train medical professionals. However, wax museums tend to be better known for hosting wax sculptures of the famous and the infamous. In considerable part, that is because of Madame Tussauds, which is the best-known wax museum by a considerable margin. The original establishment is in London, England. Besides it, others exist in other well-known cities. For instance, Madame Tussauds New York is situated at 234 W 42nd Street. That makes it a very convenient location to visit for interested individuals. After all, the address puts it at Times Square itself.

Who Was Madame Tussauds Anyway?

There was a real Frenchwoman named Marie Tussaud. She was born under the name Marie Grosholtz in Strasbourg, France in 1761. Her father was a soldier who died in the Seven Years’ War before she was even born. Meanwhile, her mother was a housekeeper who went to work for a local doctor named Philippe Curtius. Originally, Curtius made wax sculptures for medical purposes. Later, Curtius started making wax portraits instead, which proved much more lucrative. It seems safe to say that Tussaud had a very good relationship with the man. She didn’t just learn her wax sculpture skills from Curtius; she also went on to inherit the man’s two wax museums when he died in 1794.

Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud

“A Portrait Study by John T. Tussaud”, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Tussaud rose high in her homeland. At one point, she was an art instructor to a French princess. Unfortunately, that meant Tussaud had further to fall when the French Revolution broke out. Supposedly, she came under serious threat because she was seen as a royalist. Still, she winded up with the task of making death masks for those executed by guillotine. Something that must have been extra unpleasant because her previous success meant that she would have known quite a few of those individuals in life.

Eventually, Tussaud was able to make her way to the United Kingdom with her two sons and her wax sculptures in 1802. There, she toured the country for more than three decades before establishing a permanent presence for her collection in London. Madame Tussauds London is no longer situated at its original location on Baker Street. Still, Tussaud’s legacy is stronger than ever, as shown by how her name now adorns more than 20 wax museums around the world.

How Did Madame Tussauds Reach New York City?

The international expansion of Madame Tussauds is very much a product of modern times. For comparison, the original was founded in 1835, while the second wax museum to bear the name wasn’t founded until 1972. Still, the real start of international expansion didn’t start until the turn of the millennium. The first U.S. Madame Tussauds opened in Las Vegas in 1999. Subsequently, the second Madame Tussauds opened in New York City in 2000. Since then, more wax museums have been founded at a steady pace, with some countries being more popular options than others. In particular, there are now five U.S. locations, with the other three being Washington, D.C., Hollywood, and San Francisco.

Madame Tussauds New York has continued to change over time. After all, wax museums can’t maintain their appeal unless they can keep up with the changing times. However, it has never experienced the same kind of scandals as some of its counterparts. On the one hand, one could say that is a good thing because that suggests smooth operations. On the other hand, that means there isn’t much drama associated with the place itself.

What Can You Expect From Madame Tussauds New York?

Madame Tussauds Museum In New York

Photo: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

Like its counterparts, Madame Tussauds New York features a varied mix of wax sculptures based on both real and fictional figures. It has some truly classic offerings. For those unfamiliar, wax museums are famous for their horror-themed exhibits, which is unsurprising considering how Madame Tussaud herself used to show death masks and other ghoulish relics of the Terror. As a result, it makes sense that the wax museums bearing her name would uphold this tradition, particularly since it synergizes so well with modern Halloween celebrations. Of course, modern Chambers of Horror aren’t quite the same as their originator. That can be seen in how they are quite willing to make use of fictional figures for this purpose.

In any case, Madame Tussauds New York is open from 10 am to 8 pm on most days. The exceptions would be Fridays and Saturdays when the wax museum is open for an extra two hours until 10 pm, presumably because it sees more visitors on those days. Its wax sculptures are organized into exhibits based on shared themes. For example, there is one called The Opening Night Party, which features well-known figures from the entertainment industry set in an Italian-style garden.

Similarly, there is one called The Gallery, which is more focused on people of sociopolitical significance such as Diana, Albert Einstein, and Maya Angelou. Of course, Madame Tussauds has other exhibits that focus on somewhat different things. One of them gives interested individuals an inside look at how the wax sculptures are made. Another would be the Marvel Universe 4D movie, which is perhaps unsurprising considering how popular superhero movies have become in the last couple of decades.

Madame Tussauds

Photo: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

Price-wise, Madame Tussauds New York is like everywhere else in that the price depends on the exhibits people want to visit. Currently, admission plus Marvel Universe 4D cost $43.99 per person, whereas the all-inclusive package costs $79.99 per person. As always, there are considerable differences from offer to offer. Moreover, interested individuals can get different prices based on their exact circumstances. As a result, they would be wise to thoroughly scour Madame Tussauds New York’s website for further information until they find the offer best for them.

Famous Wax Figures at Madame Tussauds In New York

Madame Tussauds Museum In New York

Photo: spatuletail / Shutterstock.com

References:

https://www.madametussauds.com/new-york/information/who-we-are/

https://www.madametussauds.com/london/information/our-history/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marie-Tussaud

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/04/madame-tussaud-edward-carey-little

https://www.ny.com/museums/madame.tussaud.nyc.html

https://www.madametussauds.com/new-york/tickets/

 

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