Tussaud learned the art of creating lifelike figures out of wax during the French Revolution, claiming to have made her first ones directly from the heads of the recently guillotined.
She was born Anna Marie Gresholtz (or Grosholtz) on December 7, 1761, in Strasbourg, Her mother became housekeeper to a prominent physician in the city, Dr. Philippe Curtius (1741–1794).Tussaud became a Swiss citizen, and learned the art of wax sculpting from Curtius, who had become quite skilled in the art from making anatomical models used in medical-school classes.The first wax figure that Tussaud did on her own was in 1778 to commemorate the passing of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). In 1835, Tussaud set up her first permanent exhibition space on Baker Street in London, between Dorset and King streets. The museum featured tableaux of famous historical events, such as coronations and peace treaties, and Tussaud staffed the cash table personally until her death.Tussaud died on April 15, 1850, in London, at the age of 88. Her museum became one of London's most visited tourist attractions, and remained so well into the twenty-first century. Outposts of the original London museum were opened in Las Vegas, New York City, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibits at Madame Tussaud's, still located on Baker Street, are regularly updated to reflect current events and entertainers who have attained celebrity status, and members of England's royal family permit museum personnel to take photographs and measurements to update the likenesses that are on permanent display at Tussaud's in London.