In 1760 over in Strasbourg, France, Marie Grosholtz was born to a housekeeper. Growing up in the home of Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, Marie became skilled at sculpturing wax under the physicians guidance. At the age of 17 she created her first wax sculpture of a person. She had chosen Voltaire for the privilege. She went on to create many more works of both living and dead people.
When Dr Curtius died in 1794, Marie inherited his extensive collection of wax models. In 1795 she married Francois Tussaud and spent the next 34 years travelling around Europe showcasing the models under the name “Madame Tussaud’s”. She exhibited her works with a number of notaries before opening a museum in Baker Street, London in 1835. This was the beginning of the modern Madame Tussauds Wax Museum which continued even after her death in 1850. Due to the London bombings the original wax sculptures no longer exist but many of the casts have survived which has allowed the historical waxworks to be remade). The oldest figure on display in England is that of Madame du Barry.
A few years ago Madame Tussauds arrived in Sydney. T and I visited one of the museums overseas (I think I even have my photo with David Beckham somewhere!) and thought it would be an interesting site to take the kids.
We arrived on a bright Sunday morning. The line wasn’t that bad and we were ushered in after a few minutes. Exploring Madam Tussauds is fairly easy. It consists of a number of themed zones: history; leaders; sport, music, culture, TV, film and a-list. It was an incredible experience, quickly highlighting gaps in the kids knowledge.
We started in the history zone where we discovered a number of great Australian figures from our white history. I was surprised to note that the kids quickly identified Captain James Cook, Ned Kelly and Mary McKillop.
The leaders zone was next which was a highlight for Miss N. Turns out she’s quite the monarchist. I was impressed by Obama’s height. Turns out Mandala was quite tall too.
We proceeded through the rest of the zones with zest. Taking our images with each wax work was hilarious. The kids loved it even when they were unsure who was who. Each set has a number of props at the ready to assist you set the stage. Wigs, costumes, musical instruments…. I don’t think we would have had as much fun if we were let loose in a costume shop. What fun!
Madame Tussauds in Sydney is accessible via the Aquarium Wharf in Darling Harbour. Remember to take your parking ticket and have it validated at the Aquarium (details here). A family ticket starts at $89.00 if you purchase it online or $136.00 at the door. Click here for full details.