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“1970s Throwback Atmosphere”

John Brown Wax Museum
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Attraction details
Owner description: This vintage wax museum opened in 1963 and has hosted thousands of visitors in its many years of operation. Mr. Dorfman, the artist of the realistic hand-made figures, is the very same gifted man who also crafted the figures for Gettysburg. The John Brown Wax Museum is perfect for small groups or large school field trips. It truly does make history "come alive." The museum is seasonal, opening for weekends in March but in April through November, it stays open 7 days a week. Spring and fall hours are 9:00 until 4:30 and summer hours are 10:00 until 5:30. For countless generations, this has been a "must do" activity.
Reviewed 19 June 2018

The wax figures at this museum are old, but creepy, at the same time. An overview of the events there, including a heavy breathing wounded fighter, and JB bowing his head on the stairs before the hangman’s noose. Entertaining, though it could be better. Maybe two or three more exhibits would be good.

Date of experience: September 2017
Thank 510ROBERTC510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 121 reviews

Reviewed 17 May 2018

Remarkable wax statues detailing the significant events in the life of John Brown, some additional history that matched the National Park exhibits, but the audiovisuals and physical plant were rather dated. probably worth it to get out of the rain and/or heat.

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank jweidner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2018

If you are expecting something akin to Madame Tussaud's of London, it most certainly is not that. That said, I highly recommend a visit. The displays are well designed and seem to have stood the test of time. It's kind of neat how they turned that limited space into a series of displays packed with interesting placards and voice recordings. Not overwhelming, but enough to give one a feel for the story behind John Brown's raid.

If you are not familiar with Harper's Ferry, you should know that you will need to park in the public lot above the town and ride a shuttle down to Lower Town. We paid $10 for a 3-day parking pass, and many (most?) activities are free. We paid an additional $7 for admission to the museum. I'll leave the value for you to figure out, but I do believe it could use a little modernization.

Date of experience: May 2018
1  Thank dcparris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2017

It was a interesting visit, not really sure if it was worth $7, but hey, why not. It give's a quick snapshot of John Brown's life and illustrates how he was was contraversial, not just because of his views, but also of his methods and that it wasn't only his views on slavery but about taking over the country.

Date of experience: October 2017
1  Thank a l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 October 2017

I was familiar with John Browns Story before stopping in. However, I understood it as a tale. Something that happened a long time ago. While in the museum I developed real emotions around the subject of human bondage and the insanity it creates in those who know it to be absolutely wrong. As well as the helplessness and brutality those who experience it first hand live with from birth to death. The wax figures are super old which I think helped. The lines in their faces. The look in their eyes. The body positioning. The stagnant warmth of the space. The labor of the stairs. The small passageways. I am a black woman. Some visitors looked away from me seeming unsure while others smiled brightly and made small talk. All worked together to set the tone of a moment in time when some folks decided to rise up in protest. I am reminded, that long ago tale is not a tale at all but a body of work. That moment was the John Brown Chapter. The Colin Kapernick Chapter is the most recent in a story that has spanned many generations. I say Go! Pay homage to the all the lives lost. Pray we find a middle road where violence is no longer acceptable during protest. Pray we collectively learn to value and support the success of all of our citizens. Side Note: I would advise only mature children to check it out. It is somewhat of a heavy space. However, the small talk afterwards was very good. Some of us hugged.

Date of experience: November 2016
Thank Antunesia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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