If you’ve walked by City Hall Plaza recently and noticed Elvis Presley and Nicole Kidman starring back at you from a window, you’re not seeing things. They're just some of the many celebrity replicas that will be on hand at Boston’s new Dreamland Wax Museum.
Located at 1 Washington Mall just a short walk from Faneuil Hall, the city's newest attraction will feature two floors of more than 100 wax figures when it officially opens at the end of July. Unlike most museums that enforce strict policies against interacting with their exhibits, Dreamland will encourage visitors to get up close and personal with the displays.
“Other museums, you can’t touch them,” says Michael Pelletz, vice president of sales. “We’re going to let people hug them and touch them and you get to take selfies with them.”
While the wax museum isn't a new concept, the new, 18,000 square-foot space is the first of it's kind in the United State by Dreams Entertainment Group, a Brazilian company that runs dozens of museums across South America and Mexico. Using techniques that date back to the 17th century, each replica featured takes between four and six months to create by hand, meaning no two figures are alike.
According to Pelletz, the museum is putting history at the forefront, which makes sense since the building is located at the old site of Paul Revere and his father's goldsmith shop. Plus, the area is filled with historical attractions that date back to the birth of America.
"That’s why we picked Boston," Pelletz says, "The heart of history is here."
The first stop on the museum tour will feature a scenic backdrop of Boston with wax figures of happy locals, followed by a green screen where visitors can take photos with a famous face.
"You can say, 'I want to Faneuil Hall with Madonna,'" jokes Pelletz.
Guests will then walk down a flight of steps to the presidential area, which will include replicas of every single person who's held the title of Commander in Chief. Profiles for each POTUS are being written by a professor from nearby Suffolk University.
Yes, even Donald Trump will be on display in a spot-on recreation of the Oval Office. The area will be one of three special locations in the museum where photos will be taken by staff members.
“We want to make it look special,” Pelletz says. “If you don’t like him, you can whatever. If you like him, you can hug him. Whatever you want to do.”
The history lesson continues with spaces dedicated to world leaders past and present, including Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the Pope and members of the British Royal Family. Hollywood greats and legendary celebrities also have their own areas, featuring names such as Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson.
Modern superstars haven't been forgotten, so expect to see replicas of Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Beyonce and more when the museum opens.
“It flows really nice,” Pelletz says. “People from every generation are going to find something that they love.”
Since Boston loves its sports, athletes will have their own spots too. A boxing ring will be set up featuring the likes of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, while local stars including Larry Bird and Paul Pierce will get in on the action in the basketball display.
The wax figures will be rotated in and out on a regular basis, so don't be upset if your favorite players aren't there on opening day.
“The New England Patriots will be well represented,” Pelletz says. “The Red Sox will be well represented [too], but not yet.”
Heading back up to the top floor, the museum has a large space dedicated to innovators ranging from Albert Einstein to a certain Harvard University dropout named Mark Zuckerberg. After hanging out with the Facebook founder and other tech mavens, the tour heads to a recreation of Oprah Winfrey's television studio, where you can get your picture taken with the talk show icon.
The tour concludes with spaces dedicated to even more movie stars, including Steven Spielberg, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris. The grand finale is a breathtaking ballroom with a lovely chandelier, where you'll find your favorite local celebrities, Matt and Ben.
“In here will be Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ben Stiller, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise,” Pelletz says. “All the stars will be wearing suits and beautiful gowns.”
Attendees will be able to exit through the gift shop, which will have plenty of swag and a few yet-to-be-revealed surprises. Tickets will cost $29 for adults and $25 for children, with group discounts also available.
“We’re going to be very friendly and welcoming to Boston,” Pelletz says. “Just make it fun for everyone.”