Whether you find it creepy or not, there’s no denying that Madame Tussauds is a world-famous museum that draws crowds by the millions annually. From royal families to Hollywood celebrities, they have life-size wax figures of pretty much anybody deemed iconic enough to be molded.
Now with over 20 museums around the globe, Madame Tussauds is an empire that continues the legacy of a woman who established the company in London almost two centuries ago. Behind all the skillfully-made statues, however, is a long-standing history that’s darker and more fascinating than one would imagine.
Here, we rounded up ten obscure facts about Madame Tussauds Wax Museum that you probably didn’t know:
Marie Groshotz a.k.a. Madame Tussauds Has Quite A Family History To Tell
Her paternal side comes from an ancestral family of executioners that date back to the 15th century. Her father, however, passed away shortly after her birth in 1761 during the Seven Years’ War. This prompted her mother to look for other means to raise her.
A Renowned Anatomist Took Her In As An Apprentice
After her father’s death, her mother worked with Philippe Curtius, an anatomist, who operated a workshop in Bern, Switzerland. Curtius grew fond of the young Marie and later became her guardian and mentor.
A Life-Changing Trip To Paris Propelled Marie And Curtius To Further Success
Curtius focused mainly on making anatomical wax sculptures. But when he embarked on a trip to Paris, he was given the opportunity to make wax figures for entertainment—a move that proved to be lucrative. Marie and her mother then moved to the French capital, and this is where Marie began her illustrious career as a wax sculptor.
Marie Created Wax Figures Of Executed Personalities
From 1793, Marie was imprisoned with her mother at the infamous Laforce Prison in Paris during the French Revolution. Upon her release, she was forced to work for the National Assembly, creating death masks of nobles executed by the guillotine as proof of her allegiance to the Revolution. When the Revolution ended, she inherited Curtius’ wax exhibition.
Madame Tussaud Opened Her First Business In Britain
With the help of her sons, Madame Tussaud opened her very own exhibition in 1835 in London, where she showcased relics of the French Revolution—many of which were destroyed by a German bomb in 1940.
Madame Tussauds Actually Featured A Hitler Statue
The museum launched the statue in 2008 as part of the Berlin branch’s opening day. However, a German man destroyed it by ripping the dictator’s head off. The thought of making Hitler a tourist attraction disgusted him.
The Measurement Process Is Grueling
If you’ve ever wondered how many measurements a single sculpture requires, here’s your answer: For artists to create a realistic sculpture of a personality, they will have to make about 150 measurements.
The Tiniest Wax Sculpture Of Madame Tussauds Is That Of Tinkerbell’s
Yep, Madame Tussauds also features a variety of figures from fiction, and among them is Tinkerbell—the smallest sculpture in their collection. You will find the 5.5-inch statue at the museum in London.
The Wax Sculptures Tend To Shrink
This is why all the figures are molded two percent larger than the person they are being modeled after.
Someone Actually Proposed To A Madame Tussauds Sculpture
Well, if you can’t propose to the real person, you might as well try proposing to their wax figure, right? At least, an avid fan of Shah Rukh Khan agrees. In 2007, she went to visit the Bollywood superstar’s statue in London to present him with a diamond engagement ring—the first proposal of its kind in the history of the wax museum!
Ever dreamed of meeting your favorite stars? Madame Tussauds can make your dream come true—kind of! Book your discounted tickets here today: