#7 Laurel and Hardy Museum

My name is Elaine Macintyre and I would like to adopt the Laurel and Hardy Museum.

Laurel and Hardy Museum

Laurel and Hardy Museum (Photograph by Elaine Macintryre)

Tell us a bit more about yourself

I’m the Digital Media Content Manager at National Museums Scotland, and before that I worked at Shelter Scotland. I’ve lived in Edinburgh for 20 years now – I moved up here from Cheshire to study English at Edinburgh University. In my spare time I write film reviews, practise yoga, listen to rock’n’roll and visit museums, castles and Neolithic remains. You can find me on Twitter @elainemacintyre and at  www.elainemacintyre.net.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
The Laurel and Hardy Museum can be found in the pretty market town of Ulverston, in Cumbria. It may not be part of the traditional Lake District tourist trail, but it’s well worth making a detour from Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth to celebrate the life of another famous Cumbrian resident, Stan Laurel. Ulverston is rightfully proud of its most famous son, and this museum is a charming and appropriately eclectic tribute to Stan Laurel and his famous partnership with Oliver Hardy. The museum is open daily, 10am-5pm, from February to December, and on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays during January.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
When I was a kid, the BBC used to show Laurel and Hardy films just about every day and I loved them. So when I found myself at a loose end in Ulverston, birthplace of Stan Laurel, I made a beeline for the ‘World Famous Laurel and Hardy Museum’.  Tucked away at the back of the town’s art deco Roxy Cinema, this compact museum overflows with memorabilia. Established by fans, it’s a real labour of love. Mixing belongings, letters, photos and keepsakes with nicely laid out information panels, it not only tells you everything you need to know about the lives of Stan and Olly, but also provides a fascinating insight into the early days of Hollywood. Best of all, the museum reminds you of just how funny the odd couple really were, and in the most fitting way possible: by showing their films back to back in a tiny, cosy cinema. I came out of the museum with a smile ten miles wide, feeling like a kid again – and I can’t think of a better reason for adopting a museum!

Why would you recommend people visit?
The Laurel and Hardy museum may be small, but it’s surprisingly busy on a sunny  Saturday in July, filled with a real variety of people, from old folk who look as if they remember ‘the boys’ first time round to boisterous kids. ‘Watch this, it’s funny,’ a somewhat worn-out mother sighs, seating a row of small boys in the tiny cinema. And next thing you know, they’re laughing their heads off. Whatever age you are, you’d be a miserable so-and-so if you didn’t enjoy this museum, as it spreads the love of a classic, enduring comedy duo to a younger generation. And at only £4 for adults (concessions for children and OAPs), a ticket is an absolute steal – you can spend hours here watching Laurel and Hardy films while munching on the popcorn or sweets on sale in the museum’s shop.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Entertaining, informative, nostalgic

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