Text «Madam’s Tussaud’s Museum» (for intermediate with tasks)

MADAM TUSSAUD»S: ENTERTAINING AND AMAZING PEOPLE is a short text with tasks from the book «One-page stories to enjoy». It is for English learners who have the intermediate level of knowing English.

Text «Madam Tussaud’s: Entertaining and Amazing People»

(from the book “One-page story for intermediate)


  1. celebrity — знаменитость, звезда
  2. local celebrity — местная знаменитость
  3. international celebrity — звезда мировой величины
  4. national celebrity — национальный герой
  5. literary celebrity — известный писатель
  6. wax — воск
  7. sitting — сеанс (позирования)
  8. to execute — зд. казнить
  9. descendant —- потомок
  10. direct descendant — прямой потомок
  11. to shrink — уменьшаться, сокращаться, садиться (о материи)
  12. thrifty — бережливый, расчетливый, экономный
  13. to deteriorate — ухудшаться, становиться хуже, де­градировать
  14. precise — точный, четкий, ясный
  15. to insert — вставлять
  16. silicon rubber — силиконовый каучук

For more than two hundred years Madame Tussaud’s has entertained and amazed people of all ages, nationalities and from all walks of life. After all, where else can you see world leaders, movie stars, sporting heroes and other celebrities.

Employing the best sculptors to create the most life-like reproductions, Madame Tussaud’s is particularly famous for its attention to details. Most figures are sculptured from sittings with actual people, and each takes about 6 months to complete. All the historic characters have been created after attentive study of old portraits and sculptures. The costumes are recreated as accurately as possible.

In the 1770 Marie Grosholtz (later to become Madame Tussaud) began making her wax portrait figures. Her figures of French writer Francois Voltaire and US statesman Benjamin Franklin are on display today.
In those days wax portrait figures were like the cinema or TV today — people knew the names of the famous and infamous people of the time but didn’t know how they looked so were intrigued enough to see their wax portrait figures. During the French Revolution she was asked to make death masks of some of the prominent figures who were executed, such as Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette.

She also made a death mask of one of the leading revolutionaries, Robespierre, which is currently on display. Madame Tussaud worked at her exhibition until her death in 1850 at the age of 89. Her sons and grandsons continued with the business, but these days her descendants are no longer directly involved. However, the spirit of Marie continues to live on, not least in the form of the figure she made herself.

Figures are made 2 % bigger than real life because wax shrinks. The wax used for the figures is similar to candle wax. In the more thrifty past, wax figures were melted down and reused, but this is no longer the case as the colour of the wax deteriorates when recycled. Each figure weighs about 15 kg — with 4.5 kg of wax used for the head and 1.4 kg for the hands.

Over 150 precise measurements are taken to create an accurate portrait. Each hair is to be individually inserted, taking about five weeks.
All the figures regularly have their hair washed and styled like anyone else would at a hairdresser’s. By the way, all vital statistics are accurate and kept under lock and key by Madame Tussaud’s. Despite repeated requests from the press, this information is never disclosed.

The characters who move and speak are modelled in clay first of all, like the normal portraits, but the head is made in silicon rubber which allows movement.

A spokesperson for Madame Tussaud’s says men and women like different figures. The figure most photographed by men is Naomi Campbell, and the most photographed by women is Brad Pitt.

However, the attention from the public isn’t always friendly — for instance, Hitler had to be put behind a special glass screen in the Chamber of Horrors because people couldn’t stop abusing him. By the way, research by Madame Tussaud’s has revealed that women are stronger than men. In a recent study they discovered that the Chamber of Horrors is twice as popular among women as among men!

* * *

Tasts to the text about Madam Tussaud

  1. Try to remember what these figures mean: 150; 15; 2; 89; 4,5; 1,4

* * *

  1. Complete the questions and answer them:

1 ….. Madame Tussaud’s particularly famous for?

2 ….. it take to complete the figure?

3 .…. the historic characters been created?

4 …. Marie Grosholtz begin making her wax portrait figures?

5 ….. did she make during the French Revolution?

6 .… her descendants involved in the work of the museum?

7 …. figures made bigger than real?

8 ….. measurements are taken to create an accurate portrait?

9 ….. men and women like the same figures?

10 ……. women stronger than men?

* * *

  1. Find synonyms for the words: thrifty, precise, to deteriorate, to insert
to get worse, to put in, exact, economical

* * *

  1. Fill in prepositions.

1. Madame Tussaud’s is particularly famous ______ its attention______details.

2. Most figures are sculptured______sittings with actual people.

3. The costumes are recreated______accu­rately ______possible.

4. Her figures of French writer Francois Voltaire and US statesman Benjamin Franklin are______display today.

5. Madame Tussaud worked _______ her exhibi­tion _____her death______ 1850_____ the age of 89.

6. Her sons and grandsons continued______the business,

7. The spirit of Marie continues to live______, not least______the form of the figure she made herself.

8. The wax used______ the figures is similar _____candle wax.

9. All vital statistics are accurate and kept _ lock and key______Madame Tussaud’s.

10. Despite repeated requests __ the press, this information is never disclosed.

* * *

  1. Translate into English.

Более двухсот лет музей мадам Тюссо развле­кает и изумляет людей всех возрастов, нацио­нальностей и разного общественного положения. В конце концов, где еще вы можете увидеть ми­ровых лидеров, кинозвезд, спортивных героев и других знаменитостей.

Для создания фигур музей привлекает луч­ших скульпторов. Требуется около полугода, чтобы сделать фигуру.

В 1770 году Мари Грошольтц (которая позд­нее стала мадам Тюссо) начала делать фигуры из воска. Сегодня можно увидеть ее фигуры французского писателя Ф. Вольтера и американ­ского государственного деятеля Бенджамина Франклина.

Во время Французской революции она сдела­ла посмертную маску Робеспьера. Она работала над своей экспозицией до самой смерти в 1850 году в возрасте 89 лет.

Для того, чтобы создать точный портрет, де­лается более 150 точных измерений.

Представитель музея говорит, что мужчинам и женщинам нравятся разные фигуры. Иссле­дование, проведенное музеем, показало, что женщины сильнее мужчин. Зал, где выставле­ны фигуры известных преступников, в два раза популярнее среди женщин, чем среди мужчин!

You have read the text about «Madam’s Tussaud’s Museum» (for intermediate) and done some tasks. Retell the text to be able to use the new words while speaking English.

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