A History of Madame Tussauds

A History of Madame Tussauds
Looking into the World’s Most Famous Wax Museum

     At times, when you see the figures in a wax museum, it’s only normal to get slightly unsettled. But at the same time, you can’t help but be impressed by the uncanny resemblance they share with the people they’re modeled after. That much is true with Madame Tussauds. Stepping into the Madame Tussauds wax museum is tantamount to stepping into a room filled with all the famous people of the world that you can think of. The difference? They’re not actually alive.

     The woman behind the founding of the museum was French artist Marie Tussaud. She was born in Strasbourg, France on December 1, 1761 but spent most of her early life in Switzerland. While there, she learned the art of wax modelling from Philippe Curtius.

     At the age of 6, she moved to Paris with Curtius. Tussaud created her first wax sculpture in 1777 of the famed philosopher Voltaire. When she was 17, Tussaud served as an art tutor to Madame Elizabeth, the sister of King Louis XVI, at the Palace of Versailles. Around this time, she also made models of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin.  

     In 1802, Tussaud moved to London and opened what would later become the first Madame Tussauds wax museum in 1835. One of the highlights to this museum was the Chamber of Horrors. This exhibition featured victims of the French Revolution, of which Tussaud was a part of, as well as figures of murderers and criminals. Tussaud would make a wax self-portrait in 1842, which can now be viewed at the original London Madame Tussauds. She passed away on April 16, 1850. The original Madame Tussauds museum is currently located on Marylebone Road in London.    

     Once a major a tourist attraction in London, the museum has spawned locations in up to 24 different cities including: New York, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Bangkok. Madame Tussauds opened its first international branch in Amsterdam in 1970. In 1999, the first American branch opened in Las Vegas, followed by a second in New York in 2000. That same year, the first Asian Madame Tussauds would open in Hong Kong. Shanghai would become Asia’s third branch for Madame Tussauds in 2006. In 2010, Madame Tussauds would finally come to Bangkok, Thailand. Only a year later, Madame Tussauds would celebrate its 250th anniversary.

     First opened in 2010, Bangkok’s Madame Tussauds is situated on the 6th floor of Siam Discovery and houses over a hundred wax figures of famous people from various fields, ranging from actors to world leaders. Some of these include Tony Jaa, Cristiano Ronaldo, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lady Gaga, Michelle Yeoh, Mahatma Gandhi, Mao Zedong, Dalai Lama, and Queen Elizabeth II. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more that awaits when you come and visit Madame Tussauds at Siam Discovery.

     How wonderful it is to gaze upon the likenesses of famous and influential figures, both past and present. Perhaps this may just be as close up as some of us can get with them. You may not be able to meet the real Gandhi but you can behold an inanimate recreation of him. It’s difficult to meet Cristiano Ronaldo one-on-one; make it easier by dropping by at Madame Tussauds and visit a wax figure of him instead. You want to know what makes it better? You can as many photos (or in this era, selfies) as you like with any of these wax replicas. That way, you can remind yourself that you were once up close with your favorite celebrities.

     Madame Tussauds Bangkok is located on the 6th Floor at Siam Discovery and is open every day from 10 AM until 8 PM.