Portland Puppet Museum

Portland Puppet Museum: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, Portland Puppet Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Portland Puppet Museum
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Puppets of all types are displayed here. Many weekends we also feature shows and workshops for which there is a charge.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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11 reviews
Very good

Travis F
Tallahassee, FL2 contributions
Worth your time and very genuine.
Oct 2019
A small space packed to the gills with all things puppet.
Very sweet and friendly curators will give you space or spend as
much time with you as you like discussing the exhibits.
Passionate, genuine and kind people sharing their vast knowledge.
Written October 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jennie A
13 contributions
A Delightful Surprise
Oct 2018 • Friends
I’ve lived in the Portland Metro area for 25 years and only just heard about this little museum tucked away in a historic neighborhood. I had family visiting from out of town and we decided to make the drive to check it out. We’re delighted that we diid.

It’s a tiny little place and doesn’t take much time to see all of the puppets on display. At first, we thought “huh, nice puppets,” and prepared to leave, but then Steven Overton, the puppet master/museum owner, stepped in and started chatting with us.

Mr. Overton turned a 5-minute “huh, nice puppets” visit into an absolute gem of an hour-long visit. His obvious passion for his craft transforms that tiny space into something magical. Do vist this place, and don’t leave without taking your opportunity to talk with Mr. Overton.

We drove a little more than 25 miles (one way) in Portland afternoon rush hour traffic, with no children with us, exclusively to see this place. It was totally worth it and I’m already planning my next visit so I can see one of the puppet shows.
Written October 20, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Portland, OR1 contribution
An unusual gem in the city
Jun 2018 • Family
Great for all ages, a wonderful learning experience. The puppet master shares his knowledge in a friendly accessible way, is comfortable with children, and has some durable puppets for visitors to try out. His enthusiasm is infectious! The space is small and some puppets are very delicate, it may not be suitable for very young children that are not yet able to resist touching some of the puppets.
Written June 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Portland, OR6,303 contributions
There Ain't No Strings On Me!
Apr 2017 • Solo
It was Easter Sunday and I was out walking in the Sellwood Area. I was checking a hot lead on the case that had captured my attention. A place that intrigued me. I didn’t know what to expect at all. But the name itself told me that I was in for something unique. Something totally unexpected. A place called– The Puppet Museum.

I had just walked out of The Muddy Rudder near the Sellwood Bridge on SE Tacoma Street. The Puppet Museum was located at 906 SE Umatilla Street. Just two blocks south of Tacoma. I was very close. Very close indeed. I walked east on SE Tacoma Street, then turned south on SE 10th Avenue. And homed in on the site in question.

The building looked like a normal ordinary house from a distance. But as you approached it there were a few subtle differences. It seemed to have banners and signs all around it. And these telltale signs told me that this place was a place of mystery and intrigue. Upon further investigation it was found that there were puppets in all the windows. Puppets watching the street. Puppets that somehow looked sentient with those dead eyes of theirs. I made a few walk by passes first to get a good lay of the joint. After all, this was a matter of life and death– mine.

I made a mental note of the sign that indicated that the Puppet Museum was open from 2 PM till 8 PM on Thursdays through Sundays. It was already late in the afternoon. A Sunday afternoon to be exact. Soon the place would be closed for several days. Knowing that the time was on my side, I made my move. Totally committed, I approached the entrance.

It was 5 PM when I opened the door, and stepped into The Twilight Zone.

Yes, this joint was a den of puppets. The place was full of them. Puppets, puppets, everywhere. There were puppets on the walls. There were puppets on the shelves. There were puppets in the center of the room on stands. And puppets on the back work bench. No matter where you stood, no matter where you were, you were being stared at by puppets. It was a virtual concentration camp of puppets. With the slight exception of three live souls standing in the room. They were standing near the back work bench next to a shelf loaded with merchandise. The live souls were comprised of a couple. A man and a woman. And the other soul was the Puppet Museum’s Puppet Master.

I palmed a business card I’d spotted near the entrance, read the name, and pocketed it casually. Then I slowly made my way around the room. Stopping by each puppet I came to. Moving closer and closer toward the living souls in the room. Homing in on the conversation that Steven Overton was conducting. His eyes drifted my way briefly as he talked. Then returned to his captivated audience. The couple was totally enthralled with his words and the story he was weaving.

Something that Mr. Overton mentioned got my full attention. It was a name. A name that was totally entwined with epic Hollywood crime like no other name I knew. The name was iconic. The name was– Blake Edwards!

I prowled around the room while the couple was mesmerized by the Puppet Master’s patter. Making mental notes of all I saw. Some of which I had seem before. Maybe not these exact characters. But faces that were very much like them. A few of these faces owed a lot to real life dolls. Full size dolls. Dolls that lived and breathed up on the silver screen.

I spotted Kermit the frog sitting up on a shelf as I approached a few small tables standing in the center of the room. There were puppets on display here as well. One of them was a puppet of Carmen Miranda, complete with a cornucopia of fruit resting on her head. Just like a bountiful bon voyage bird nest from the tropics. And not to far away from her was a striking exotic scantily clad belly dancer that reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor.

After the couple finally left, it was just me and the Puppet Master. Mono a mono. I picked up a DVD from the merchandise shelf called “The Witch Key” and handed him a sawbuck. I was sure that this would cut the ice and provide me with a good example of his skills, in a more animated form than what surrounded me at the moment.

I pointed to a puppet off to the side of the work bench sitting in a rocking chair. It was an old man dressed all in white with a western hat and black ribbon western tie. “Is that Coronel Sanders?” I asked.

The Puppet Master’s eyes lit up, “Why Yes, it is.” He walked over and picked it up. Removed the plastic bag that was covering it. Then he told me the story behind this puppet and described the act the he performs with it. There were no strings on it. None at all. He demonstrated how to operate the puppet. I must admit he was a mighty captivating speaker. A true story teller.

Before I knew it, he had offered me a cup of coffee and a chair so that we could sit and chat. He told me all about himself and his craft. And asked me about my background. By the time I got up to leave it was starting to get dark outside. Several hours had passed. I had a good hunch that this just might be the right man for the caper I had in mind. But first I would watch the DVD of “The Witch Key”. I had to be absolutely sure before I returned to lay all my cards on the table.

Like I said before, it was a matter of life and death– Mine!
Written October 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yorktown Heights, New York7 contributions
So happy we went
Jul 2017 • Family
Despite the fact that we no longer have young children we just had to visit the puppet museum with one of our grown up daughters.
I am a retired school psychologist who used puppets in a Rockland County NY school where the grades were just kindergarten and first grade. I used puppets to teach social skills as well as to help anxious children relax and to youngsters to strengthen their ability to focus.
I just had to visit a fellow puppeteer. I believe we were talking to Steve. He showed us the entire museum and demonstrated one of the marionettes. It was so clear that he loved his career. I can understand. It is such rewarding work with children.
Written August 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Appleton, WI107 contributions
Take your moppet to see a puppet
Jun 2016 • Family
Way beyond charming. Children will adore the interaction with the Master Puppeteer and his charges. Get matched with the puppet that most resembles you.
Written April 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Montana191 contributions
Mar 2017 • Couples
We stopped here and were given a free tour by one of the two friendly men who collect, refurbish and display puppets. Amazing! They also perform shows, some for children and some for adults. Amazing collection of historic puppets, and I am not even "into" puppets.
Written April 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Milwaukie, OR1,488 contributions
Co-owners Steve and Marty are wonderful!
May 2015 • Family
My wife and I were visiting our daughter and son-in-law in Portland, Oregon recently and while driving back to their home, we drove by this puppet museum. Our daughter shouted out “Stop!” and we found a place to park in the neighborhood and walked back. It was close to 8 pm and we weren’t even sure they were open but the door was open and we were greeted by someone who turned out to be one of the co-owners. He gave us some background about the museum and their puppets and then the other co-owner came out from a back room and also chatted with us- for quite a while. The museum is very small but filled with puppets and memorabilia from different movies they’ve worked on and Marty and Steve were wonderful- like proud parents talking about their children- they talked passionately and proudly about their business, their hobby, their puppets, and the movies they’ve made.
I was staring at one of the puppets, trying to place it, and Steve said “Yes, that’s Mortimer Snerd”- one of the characters developed by Edgar Bergen. That took me back “a few” years!
This museum might not be for everybody but we found it fascinating. There is no fee to get in but we left a donation in a jar. Please check out my pictures and you might want to check their web site: www.puppetmuseum.com. Maybe you can check out one of their live puppet shows!
Written May 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chicago, IL14 contributions
Don't miss puppet workshop
Sep 2014 • Family
The puppet workshop was the highlight of our visit to Oregon. My daughters transformed (with a lot of help from artist Steven Overton) -- stuffed animals into marionettes. It was magic.
Written October 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

England195 contributions
A hidden gem in Portland!
Jun 2014 • Couples
It's small but well worth a visit, they even have the original Howdy Doody! The guys who run the place are lovely and are happy to let you go behind the stage, if you go at the weekend you can even sometimes catch a free show!
Written July 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Portland Puppet Museum

Portland Puppet Museum is open:
  • Thu - Sun 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM

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