Hot Springs, Arkansas, also known as “spa city,” is an old and well-established resort town that is named for it naturally thermal spring waters that produce almost one million gallons of water per day. Known as a place of healing waters, native Americans referred to the spot as “the Valley of the Vapors.” Life is leisurely and slows in Hot Springs, and visitors take their time enjoying the area’s many tourist attractions, not the least formidable of which is Josephine Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

This wax museum is very special indeed.

The great-great-grand-daughter of Madame Tussaud has created her own tribute in wax to some of the world’s most famous faces and to some that are not.

Her museum bears no connection to the other more famous one, other than the suggestion of linkage via name.

The faces here include the likes of Jimmy Carter; Abraham Lincoln with an armed John Wilkes Booth standing behind him; Elizabeth Taylor in all of her haunting beauty; sexy Marilyn Monroe; Jessie James; Louis Armstrong; Marie Antoinette; Henry the VIII; Winston Churchill and Napoleon Bonaparte, just to scratch the surface.

Before the days of the interactive exhibits so popular today, there was a respectful, almost ghostly distance sensed between the wax figure display and the viewer. In the world of the 1950’s horror cinema, a film called The House of Wax, which starred Vincent Price, explored the idea of realism by using live models dipped in wax instead of…well, instead of however wax figures are really made.

While this museum doesn’t go quite that far, it is a bizarre and grotesque collection of more than one hundred wax dummies, most of which date back to 1971 and all of which are separated into “worlds.”

According to Tammy Rowan, curator of the museum, which is owned and operated by the Roberts family, the museum is all about honoring the resort town’s rich and colorful history.

A waxworks display of a casino known as the Southern Club was a personal favorite of a gangster, Al Capone, who still plays Blackjack there with a cigar in his mouth, even if only in waxen spirit.

There are seven magic worlds to be discovered in this incredible wax museum.

Among others, there are the “World of Religion”; the “World of Make-Believe”; the “Hall of Battles “and the” World of Horrors,” the latter of which is hosted by a very weird guy himself; namely, Alfred Hitchcock.

This macabre wax array includes a dramatic representation of “Torture by the Pendulum” and several corpses missing a few important things, like their eyes and their heads.

The display entitled: “Legends of Myth and Horror” features a werewolf and Frankenstein, two favorites among the horror-loving set. The effect of moving from one world to another is hardly noticeable because the music from each historical period becomes immediately one with the next.

The original Madame Tussaud would have been very proud of her great-great-granddaughter, Josephine, who has followed in her waxy footsteps. Does entrepreneurship run in the family? Who can say, but here’s to wax and to history and even to Vincent Price’s evil character,

All of whom who show their respect for this odd art medium in their own particular ways.

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