Even though Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz died in February 2000, so much of what he drew seems contemporary.
It was a delight to spend some time this month in the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa. It’s been open since August 2002.
The comic strip debuted in October 1950 in seven newspapers. Fifty years later it had appeared in 2,600 newspapers. Millions of people had the opportunity to read it every day. He created 17,897 comic strips.
It was interesting to see some of the early strips because the characters, while recognizable, are not the same in appearance as what most of us are probably used to.
A quote from Schulz on a museum wall says, “Snoopy’s appearance and personality have changed probably more than those of any of the other characters. As my drawing style loosened, Snoopy was able to do more things, and when I finally developed the formula of using his imagination to dream of being many heroic figures, the strip took on a completely new dimension.”
The museum is as much about the evolution of Peanuts as it of Schulz.
Plenty of comic strips adorn the walls to remind people what a creative genius Schulz was.
Upstairs is the research center. A sign outside says, “The research center was built to facilitate academic and historical study of the life and art of Charles M. Schulz. The center is home to books, special collections, and photographs related to Schultz and Peanuts. It’s rich and diverse archival collection also supports the exhibitions inside the museum.”
Also on this level is a room where people may draw cartoons and comics, work on other creative activities, watch videos, and read comics and books.
More captivating to me, though, was the replication of his studio. All that was missing was the man himself. It felt so authentic, right down to the overflowing garbage can with crumpled up renderings Schulz felt didn’t capture what he was trying to say.
There is much to learn and appreciate in this museum. It’s definitely someplace that could be visited more than once, especially knowing exhibits rotate—with special ones slated throughout the year.
On the same property is the Redwood Empire Ice Area aka Snoopy’s Home Ice. After all, Schulz was an avid hockey player. On a recent weekend day is was full of recreational skaters.
- Cost—$12 adults
- Closed Tuesdays except during the summer.
- Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa
- More info online https://schulzmuseum.org/