Wednesday, 16 Jun 2021

Biden smiling, Trump removed: Paris wax museum reopens to new political reality

PARIS (REUTERS) – Closed since late October in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Paris wax museum will reopen on Wednesday (May 19) with a new guest: US President Joe Biden, posing with his arms crossed and flashing a toothy grin.

A little further down the museum’s halls, president Barack Obama’s statue still stands, smiling serenely, but that of Mr Donald Trump has been dismantled and put into storage.

The Grevin Wax Museum, opened in 1882, has featured US presidents since Mr James Garfield, but when their term ends, their statue is taken down and the heads and bodies are kept in separate crates in the museum’s cellars.

“We have kept Obama, as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; the others are in storage,” Grevin museum spokesman Veronique Berecz said.

The museum still has the heads of US presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, but those of most older presidents have been discarded.

Some celebrities may disappear from the museum and then come back, as is the case with Elvis Presley whose new statue will be displayed from Wednesday.

Among the museum’s 250 or so celebrities and historical figures, political leaders are relatively rare.

French President Emmanuel Macron is present, as are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not.

Former French president Francois Hollande is no longer on display, but his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy is, because he appears alongside his model and singer wife Carla Bruni.

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