We can’t all party with J-Lo while in New York. However, when visiting Madame Tussauds famous museum, we can at least pretend to. A tradition that dates back to London in the 1830s, Madame Tussauds is a unique experience that makes sure every visitor to New York gets the chance to rub elbows with the stars.
Madame Tussauds History
Marie Tussaud was born in France in 1761. The daughter of a housekeeper, her mother’s employer, Dr. Philippe Curtius, was not only a physician, but also a skilled wax modeler. It was Dr. Curtius who taught young Marie the art of wax sculpting and modeling, beginning an art career as storied as that of Monet and Van Gogh.
Marie sculpted human figures right from the start. The first of which was a model of the French philosopher and writer, Voltaire, crafted in 1777 when Marie was just 16. The next years of Marie’s life were highlighted by the French Revolution, which provided a great deal of inspiration for her art. She and her husband travelled throughout Europe exhibiting her collection of wax figures along with those of Dr. Curtius, who left his vast collection to her upon his death in 1794.
In 1835, Marie and her husband Francois Tussaud settled down on London’s famous Baker Street. Once there, the Tussauds found a permanent exhibition location for her work. Marie remained there until her death in 1850. However, around 1883 the rising costs of Baker Street led the family to move the business to a purpose-built site on Marlybone Road, where it remains today. In addition to Marie’s original sculptures, many other wax-based artists have added their work to the original Tussauds as well as its numerous branches across the world, including the one in New York’s Times Square, added in 2000. Today, Madame Tussauds museums house figures of many famous people including historical figures, political leaders, and stars of sports and film.
The Madame Tussauds in New York can be found in Times Square at 243 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Though only the London location houses original works my Marie Tussaud, the New York branch offers several takes on celebrity and history in its vast halls. Madame Tussauds in New York boasts nine different categories of fonts: political leaders, historical figures, pop stars, cultural figures, TV stars, sports stars, world leaders, Hollywood stars, and animated characters. Each group is found in different situations throughout the building in exhibits as diverse as the Spirit of New York to the Bollywood Zone and VIP Club.
Unlike in previous years, all exhibits at Madame Tussauds are now open, which allows visitors to literally rub elbows with their favorite stars and world figures. This includes taking pictures and video as well throughout the twelve exhibits permanently housed in the museum, which spans two stories and includes a 4D theater.
Why Madame Tussauds is a Must-See
Going to Madame Tussauds is an experience that just oozes New York. Though clearly not as historical a journey as the London Madame Tussauds, the opportunity to “meet and greet” some of your favorite stars and figures makes a kid of us all. Plus, the interactivity allowed with the wax figures makes this a perfect family-friendly stop. No one comes out of Madame Tussauds without a dozen or so pictures destine for the highlight reel.
Truly, there is just something so fun about entering the celebrity dreamland that Marie Tussaud created two centuries ago. In addition, artists and art appreciators will also marvel that the craftsmanship that goes into each figurine. The likenesses are so lifelike that, on film at least, you may be able to convince your friends that you hung with the VIP crowd in New York.
Where to Buy It
There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.
Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.
Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from Madame Tussauds either online or in person.