S.F. Wax Museum Closes, Goes Corporate
|See you later|
Today is the Wax Museum's last day of its 50-year-run at Fisherman's Wharf. The Fong family, which has run the museum since before the Wharf was a tourist trap, according to write-ups in the Chronicle and the Business Journal, is getting out of the wax figure game.
But fret not -- this is a success story that contains decades of wax to come.
See Also: Lance Armstrong Booted From Wax Museum
The Fongs own the building, and have landed a multi-year lease with Madame Tussands who plan to build a "San Francisco Dungeon." The wax Willie Brown should be pleased.
Locals know and love the Wax Museum more so than transplants, for whom the Wharf is a far-removed anomaly visited only when relatives come to town (and even then for solely sea lions, a bread bowl, and a scare from the Bushman).
It may be hard to see why a erratically lit, erratically artistic wax museum -- which in the words of one unaccommodating Yelper "looked like they were made from a high school after school arts program with a limited budget and a donation of melted Crayola surplus" -- would elicit pangs of nostalgia, even in this nostalgia-mad time-capsule of a town.
But San Francisco used to be kind of janky (or at least jankier than now, or janky without artisanal cocktails and app-builders). It was working class, a little schmaltzy and kitschy in the tourist areas, weird and not so flashy. A somewhat low-rent tourist trap of a museum -- and admissions up until the end today are still just $5 -- is a one of the last living vestiges of that era. This used to be a weird city, and the wax museum is seriously weird.
In any event, it appears to be a good deal for the Fong family, who is selling the wax figurines currently on display to a mystery buyer, and who will have a tenant for the prime real estate on which they're still paying 1963-era taxes for the foreseeable future.
Madame Tussand's opens up in 2014.