The attraction’s history is a rich and fascinating one, with roots dating back to the Paris of 1770. It was there that Madame Tussaud learned to model wax likenesses under the tutelage of her mentor, Dr. Philippe Curios. At 17 years of age, she became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister at the Palace of Versailles and then, during the French Revolution, was hastily forced to prove her allegiance to the feudalistic nobles by making death masks of executed aristocrats. Madame Tussaud came to Britain in the early 19th century alongside a travelling exhibition of revolutionary relics and images of public heroes and rogues
At a time when news was communicated largely by word of mouth, Madame Tussauds’ exhibition was a kind of travelling newspaper, providing insight into global events and bringing the ordinary public face-to-face with the people in the headlines. Priceless artifacts from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars brought to vividly life events in Europe which had a direct bearing on everyday lives. Figures of leading statesmen and, in the Chamber of Horrors, notorious villains put faces to the names on everyone’s lips and captured the public imagination. In 1835, Madame Tussauds’ exhibition established a permanent base in London as the Baker Street Bazaar- visitors paid ‘sixpence’ for the chance to meet the biggest names of the day. The attraction moved to its present site in Marylebone Road come 1884. In 2000, Madame Tussauds arrived to the United States with opening its first attraction in Las Vegas, Nevada. The attraction received such great response that in 2000, Madame Tussauds opened its door in New York City’s Times Square location. Madame Tussauds arrived at the nation’s capital in October of 2007 and is scheduled to open in Hollywood, CA in 2009
– taken from the Madame Tussauds Website.