Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds New York is a wax museum located on 42nd Street close to Times Square in New York City. Madame Tussauds was founded by the wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud, and is now operated by the United Kingdom-based entertainment company, Merlin Entertainments. The Madame Tussauds New York location opened in November 2000 with five floors of attraction space and over 200 figures; it has quickly become a popular destination in New York City.Marie Tussaud was born as Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked 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. In 1777, Tussaud created her first wax sculpture of Voltaire and soon after began sculpting death masks of notable victims in the French Revolution. These masks were then held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris. In 1794, Marie's mentor, Dr. Phillipe Curtius, died and Tussaud inherited his entire collection. Marie married Francois Tussaud in 1795 lent a new name to the show: Madame Tussaud's. By 1835 Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened a museum, Madame Tussaud's. This part of the exhibition included victims of the French Revolution and newly created figures of murderers and other criminals. Several famous people were added to the exhibition, including Lord Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott. Some of the sculptures done by Marie Tussaud herself still exist. The gallery originally contained some 400 different figures, but fire damage in 1925, coupled with German bombs in 1941, has rendered most of these older models defunct. The casts themselves have survived allowing the historical waxworks to be remade. These can be seen in the museum's history exhibit. The oldest figure on display is that of Madame du Barry, otherwise known as 'sleeping beauty,' and this figure is located at Madame Tussauds London. In 1842, Tussaud made a self-portrait which is now on display at several Madame Tussauds locations. On 15 April 1850, Madame Tussaud died in her sleep. In 1883, the restricted space and rising cost of the Baker Street site prompted Marie Tussaud's grandson, Joseph Randall, to commission the building at its current location on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries were opened on 14 July 1884 and were a great success. A limited company was formed in 1888 to attract fresh capital but had to be dissolved after disagreements between the family shareholders. In February 1889, The Tussaud's group was sold to a group of businessmen led by Edwin Josiah Poyse.The museums, known as 'Madame Tussauds', are currently owned by Merlin Entertainments after the acquisition of The Tussauds Group in May 2007. Since the acquisition, Madame Tussaud's wax museum has grown into a major tourist attraction. Madame Tussauds has expanded and will expand with branches in amsterdam, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York City, Orlando, Prague, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Vienna, Washington, D.C., Wuhan, Tokyo and a temporary museum in Busan (Korea). Today's wax figures at Madame Tussauds range from historical and royal figures to film stars and famous musicians. In 2000, Madame Tussauds arrived to the United States and opened its first attraction in Las Vegas, Nevada. The attraction received such great responses that in 2000, Madame Tussauds opened its doors in New York City's Times Square location. Since opening its doors in 2000, Madame Tussauds New York has quickly become one of the most popular Madame Tussauds locations in the world. With new figure launches every couple of months and over 200 figures, Madame Tussauds New York Is one of the largest locations in the United States.The figure making process for Madame Tussauds is about four months long and each figure costs about $300,000 to produce start to finish. The process begins with a sitting with the subject to decide on the figure's pose, outfit, hair, and makeup. After these details are agreed upon, the studio artists from Madame Tussauds take over 250 precise measurements and photographs of the subject. Once all of the measurements have been recorded, the studio artists begin crafting the figures. They start by creating a metal armature that serves as a skeleton for the figure. This skeleton is then cast in fiber glass to create the body. While the body is made, the figure's head is carefully sculpted out of clay and a variety of tools until a perfect likeness is achieved. After the clay has dried, a plaster mold is made of the head and cut into thirteen pieces that allows the artists to remove the mold and put it back together. Once this is completed, the wax is melted down and poured into the mold, creating the figure's head. Then, the teeth and eyes are fitted and each piece of hair is inserted individually. The process of hair insertion takes about two weeks to complete. Once this is finished, Madame Tussauds' artists cut and style the hair and apply the figure's makeup using several shades of oil based paints to build the exact colors and tones. Once these steps are finalized, the figure can then be dressed and accessorized.

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