More than pokes the eye at the Stooges museum — fun for fans & freshmen alike.
Hey, what’s the big idea? Just a few minutes outside Philly, you’ll find the only Three Stooges museum in the English-speaking world, with the largest collection of Stooge-related memorabilia to be found anywhere.
The Stoogeum is an incredible repository of Old Hollywood during the “studio era” (1920 – 1950), when The Three Stooges were kicking out comedic shorts that warmed up movie audiences before the feature played. It’s also the headquarters for the Stooges Fan Club, which serves a cheerfully loyal fan base – most of whom grew up watching the Stooges on TV.
Indeed, The Three Stooges introduced generations of Americans to the joy of physical sketch comedy. Drink it all in here, where you’ll find three floors of Stooge memorabilia: original movie posters, costumes and set pieces, personal belongings and movie contracts, plus promotional toys, tchotchkes, albums, original art – even a pinball machine.
It’s a fascinating collection that will appeal to anyone with an interest in art, history, movies, and Americana. PRO TIP: make sure you pop into the Stoogeum’s theater, which plays their movies on a loop. You might be amazed at how well some of the humor holds up, and how expertly choreographed these routines really are even by today’s standards.
OK, but why Ambler?
While Moe, Curly and Shemp were all brothers from Brooklyn, Larry Fine was born and raised in Philadelphia. Though he made his fame in L.A., his siblings stayed behind. When Larry died in 1975, he left all his Stooges stuff to his brother Morris, who in turn passed it onto his daughter Robin – or, more specifically to her husband Gary Lassin.
Being a boomer, Gary had a soft spot in his heart for the Stooges, and he enthusiastically took conservatorship of the family archives. He even added to it, scouring auction houses and ebay, constantly expanding his collection. Today, he has about 100,000 items! Only a fraction however are on display – which is probably a good thing, as the Stoogeum already feels quite exhaustive.
No worries, it’s extremely well-organized! It’s also well-lit, with a spacious layout that never feels cluttered or claustrophobic. Setting up your visit couldn’t be easier, just pick a time from the calendar on their website and they’ll be expecting you.
All tours are self-guided; plan for about two hours – with so much to see, time really flies. One small bummer: no photos/video of any kind. Part of the Stoogeum experience is to feel surprised at every turn. You “soitently” won’t find anything quite like it!
Ambler is a cute little town with a lively business corridor where we assumed The Stoogeum would be located — whoops. It’s actually a bit off the beaten path, in an office park of non-descript buildings that kinda look like townhomes. Fortunately, our GPS had no problems delivering us to the correct door. Once there, a friendly woman took our admission and directed us up a Stooge-y staircase where we were immediately greeted by life-sized wax figures of the trio in their iconic bellhop uniforms.
There, several sit-down stations offer touch screens (activated by poking Curly’s eyes!) that allow guests to explore the Stooges history, from their early days in vaudeville to their retirement in the 1970’s. The United States went through a lot of change during that time, it’s really interesting to see how elastic The Stooges could be, adapting to the times while remaining true to their schtick.
This floor also includes the theater, where we did not expect to be sidetracked so long. But watching old Stooges on a big screen was surprisingly addictive. How fun is gratuitous slapstick?! Who knew we remembered these shorts so well? There should be a word for the uncontrollable giggling that occurs when you know a pie fight is coming.🤪 In retrospect, I’d recommend saving this part of the Stoogeum for last, after you’ve fully explored the rest of the exhibits and are ready to sit back and enjoy these guys at the top of their game.
Of course you’ll want to stop by the gift shop at some point, too. It’s actually more like a cabinet with some mugs, stickers, and other souvenir-y things you’d expect. The nice woman who took our admission earlier popped up the stairs to serve us. She also let us flip through the Stoogeum owner’s new book, 765-page “encyclopedic compendium” featuring hundreds of never-before-published photos, documents, and stage reviews from The Stooges life on the road.
FUN FACT: Their contract with Columbia Pictures was quite modest, so The Stooges actually made most of their money performing live for months of the year — in person and on TV — where they headlined with some of the biggest names of the time: Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Louis Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe… (They also worked with local talents, and made time to visit children’s hospitals wherever they went.)
On our way out, we were all surprised by how quickly more than two hours had passed. Whew! All that exploring and lol’ing really works up an appetite. Handily, Ambler has an impressive restaurant scene, with lots of great options for refueling: from fine dining to BYOB’s, with excellent global eateries as well as neighborhood pubs. We chose the latter after our visit, with a solid lunch at Fireside Bar & Grill.
I cannot recommend this daytrip enough, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of The Stooges. There’s so much here! The museum’s vast collection of vintage movie posters, for instance, is like a dazzling time trip through decades past — worth the price of admission, right there, imho. And don’t get me started on the nosy thrills to be found in old letters, passports, photo albums, legal documents, and other highly-personal mementos surrounding the lives of three of the most famous comics of their time. Prepare to be intrigued, whether Stooge humor’s your thing or not.
904 Sheble Lane, Ambler
Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors & students (children under 12 free). Wheelchair accessible with elevator access to all three floors. Free, convenient parking. Questions? Call (267) 468-0810 or email email@example.com
🤷 Have you been? 🤷 Please comment below, we’d love to hear what you think! Especially if you have a favorite part, or any tips for getting the most of your visit. 🙏