Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa Preparing to Reopen

IMG_5705Today’s entry in the Our Daily Bread devotional begins with this: “I have always enjoyed the wit and insight of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz. One of my favorite cartoons drawn by him appeared in a book about young people in the church. It shows a young man holding a Bible as he tells a friend on the phone, ‘I think I’ve made one of the first steps toward unraveling the mysteries of the Old Testament . . . I’m starting to read it!'”

I just checked to see how the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California is doing in the wake of the October wildfires that so devastated the northern part of the state. I discovered the facility will be closed until further notice. Efforts are underway to restore the air quality inside the museum with 20 blowers being used to purify the air. Professional cleaners are at work on the air ducts and the Museum’s interior, endeavoring to make the place safe for the return of staff and artwork. Once it is safe, the collections staff will clean the art and reinstall current exhibitions.
 
I was relieved to see the museum survived the horrific fires, but saddened to learn that Schulz’s home, where he had resided for 30 years, was destroyed. His wife was able to evacuate, but much memorabilia was lost. I thought I might post some photos from our visit to the museum for all you Peanuts fans.

All Things Snoopy

On October 2, 1950, three kids – Charlie Brown, Patty and Shermy – appeared on the funny pages of seven newspapers. Over the next 50 years plus – via television specials, a Saturday morning cartoon, books, live theater productions, recordings, amusement parks and 17,897 comic strips – these three, along with Snoopy, Woodstock and others in a sizable cast of characters, have taught us and entertained us.

In the garden at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California.
Charlie Brown “under construction” in the garden of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California

The Peanuts Gang was the invention of Charles M. Schulz and, today, visitors to Santa Rosa, California may explore the art and nuances of his craft at a museum that carries on his legacy.

Schulz was born in Minneapolis in 1922 and 12 hours after his birth, an uncle gave him the nickname “Sparky” after the racehorse character Spark Plug in a popular comic strip of the time, Barney Google. Thus, almost from the moment of his birth, Schulz had a connection with comic strips. Early on, “Sparky” showed an aptitude for art and, following service in the European Theater of Operation during World War II, he launched into a career in the funny papers.

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Snoopy atop his doghouse

In Episode 26 of On the Road with Mac and Molly on Pet Life Radio, I chat with Karen Johnson, Director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. We hear about the Peanuts Gang, its creator and the museum. And then, we center, most especially, on all things Snoopy from his doghouse decor (a pool table, Wyeths and a Van Gogh . . . ); to his impersonations (from a moose and a pelican to Mickey Mouse); his moments at the typewriter (“It was a dark and stormy night . . . “); his alter-egos (who doesn’t love his WWI flying ace and his battles with the Red Baron?); his “band of brothers” (siblings Spike, Marbles, Olaf, Andy and Belle); and his connection with aviation (from NASA to the U.S. Air Force).

It was not until 1957 that Snoopy walked on his two hind feet like a human.
It was not until 1957 that Snoopy walked on his two hind feet like a human.

Karen explains how Snoopy’s character evolved over time to embrace more and more of the fanciful. We also hear why Schulz believed the best idea he ever had in the strip was to move Snoopy from inside the doghouse to the rooftop.

All photos taken at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center by Donna Hailson.

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Snoopy and Woodstock sharing a snack in the garden of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center