There are few, if any, comedic troupes more well-known the world over than The Three Stooges. And, while the Stooges haven’t performed in over 50 years, their legacy still lives on at the Stoogeum.
The Stoogeum (which rhymes with “museum”) is the world’s first, and likely only, Three Stooges museum. It is located in a converted office building near Ambler in Montgomery County, a short distance north of Philadelphia, the hometown of Stooges Larry Fine and Curly Joe DeRita.
Even though I was born several years after the Stooges’ last performance, I’ve seen many of their shorts throughout my life and know them well as one of the most popular American comedy groups of all time. So, I was excited when I finally had a chance to visit the Three Stooges museum at the museum’s invitation.
The Stoogeum can be found tucked back in a small office park behind a Wawa. While it’s not hard to find, it’s not something you would ever stumble upon as there is no sign on the road and even the sign on the building is understated.
The museum opened to the public in 2004 in what was once an architectural firm’s office building. This building features three floors of displays and is also the home of The Three Stooges Fan Club, one of the oldest fan clubs in the world.
Visits to the museum start on the second floor of the building. There are stairs to each floor as well as an elevator for those that need one.
Right at the start of the museum, there are touchscreen panels that offer a nice overview of The Three Stooges from their earliest beginnings working as Vaudeville performers for Ted Healy in the 1920s through to their end in the 1970s. The information here is quite interesting, and it made me laugh that you start the program by poking an image of Curly in the eyes.
This floor also features an 85-seat theater that shows a rotation of Three Stooges’ shorts and films. Definitely take some time to sit down and enjoy a few minutes of their antics as this is a great way to get you in the mood for seeing the rest of the museum.
This floor also has a small gift shop, the Hall of Shemp, life-size wax figures of the Stooges’ most popular line-up (Moe, Curly, and Larry), and several Three Stooges’ arcade games that you can play. The games are set to free play, so definitely take a moment and enjoy a bit of fun with these classic arcade games.
The first floor of the Stoogeum contains the majority of the displays within the museum. The collection here is said to contain around 100,000 items, and while I’m sure they aren’t all on display, there is a ton to see in this space.
I started by walking through a gallery highlighting each of the six men who played one of the Stooges’ during their existence: Moe, Curly, and Shemp Howard (originally Horwitz), Larry Fine, Joe Besser, and Joe DeRita. This section offered a chance to learn about each of these performers and both their role with the Stooges and their lives and careers outside of the group.
On this floor, you’ll also find thousands of items related to The Three Stooges. These include items used in their films and a large number of promotional sheets and posters for their films that were sent to theaters.
There is also a great collection of Stooges memorabilia, both from many decades ago as well as from recent years, including items like Stooges’ cereal, beer, and trading cards. You’ll even find interesting tie-ins like comic books and stories. Along the way, you can enjoy more Stooges’ entertainment on the TVs spread throughout the space playing their films.
The top floor of the Stoogeum is the smallest display area of the three floors and displays art inspired by The Three Stooges. Most of this work is drawings, paintings, and other work that hangs on the wall, though there are a few statues, as well.
I really enjoyed browsing this gallery, and it was fun to see both more traditional art and some other pieces that have really fun interpretations of the Stooges throughout the years.
Overall, the Stoogeum is a really fun spot to visit, though it’s definitely geared toward those that are fans of The Three Stooges. That being said, this Three Stooges museum does a good job introducing the group, so those that are less familiar with them are likely to enjoy it as well if they appreciate the Stooges’ style of comedy and the history of Hollywood.
Visiting the Stoogeum
It’s worth noting that visits to the Stoogeum are by appointment only and are only offered on a handful of select dates each month.
To visit, check the museum’s website for a list of open dates for the coming month. Note that visits are only available on weekdays, typically from either 10am-noon or 2pm-4pm.
Once you find a day and time that you would like to visit, you’ll have to fill out the form on their website, email, or call to request an appointment. Walk-up visits aren’t allowed.
According to the museum, if you have a specific date for a future month that you’d like to visit, you can email the museum and request that they be open on that date, and they will do their best to accommodate you.
It’s also worth noting that you are not allowed to take photos or videos inside the museum. Hence, other than the exterior photo, all photos of the museum in this article were provided by the Stoogeum.
Note: My visit to the Stoogeum was hosted by the site. However, the opinions expressed are my own.
Hours: Dates vary. See Website.
Cost: Adults: $10, Kids: Free
Address: 904 Sheble Ln