THE OLDEST WAX MUSEUM
IN THE COUNTRY
In 1948, George Leonard Potter turned his dream into a reality and officially opened the first wax museum in the United States. Known as Potter’s International Hall of Fame, the original museum housed well over 200 wax figures in a two-story building located at 1 King Street in historic St. Augustine. By the 1970s, it was recognized as the second-largest wax museum in the world.
George Potter passed away in 1979 and ownership of the museum went to his family, who managed it for a few years before deciding to sell off the majority of the museum’s collection. Shortly thereafter, former curator, Dottie White, bought 160 of the remaining wax figures and reopened the legendary wax museum. The renamed Potter’s House of Wax officially opened in 1987 at 17 King Street.
A FINE ART GALLERY & VINTAGE MUSEUM
In 2014, the museum was moved into the Oldest Drug Store at 31 Orange Street, where it still remains. Over the years, Potter’s Wax Museum has become one of the most iconic and popular St. Augustine attractions. Peppered with educational information and fun facts, Potter’s Wax Museum has the feel of a fine art gallery and unique vintage museum.
The wax museum has added a bounty of recognizable figures:
Politicians, entertainers, fictional characters, writers, scientists, inventors, royal families, U.S. presidents, and even a few A-list celebrities and sports stars.
AN INTRICATE PROCESS
The exceptional likeness of each figure to the person they represent is thanks to the intricate process used to create them, which can be seen during your visit. The costume collection is valued at over $1,000,000 and features handmade ornate antique garments. Each figure is handmade using traditional techniques and materials. Much of the work takes place on-site in the Wax Studio, offering guests the opportunity to observe and interact with the artists.
Every part of the process except for fiberglassing the body is done here. Figures are sculpted, painted, dressed, and detailed in view of guests. The studio is home to an assortment of special tools such as paintbrushes, sculpting tools, paints and mediums, a wide variety of hair, sewing tools, and prosthetic eyes and teeth. When it’s time to cast a wax head, the aroma of hot beeswax fills the room as it melts in the studio’s double-boiler. Guests can come watch our artists sculpt heads in clay, detail faces and hands, insert hairs (one at a time!) into wax heads, and learn about the process of traditional wax figure making. Questions are always welcome in Potter’s Studio!