For 50 years the antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Lucy, and the rest of Charles M. Schulz’s iconic “Peanuts” gang delighted readers nationwide from their home in America’s funny pages. By the time the last strip was published on February 13, 2000 – a date that, incidentally, coincided with the artist’s death – Schulz and his creations had long since established themselves as a treasured piece of Americana.
The idea to create a museum showcasing Schulz’s artwork was first proposed in the 1990s by Schulz’s wife, Jean, along with friends and admirers Mark Cohen and Edward Anderson. At the time Schulz was still illustrating daily “Peanuts” cartoons and showed little interest in the project, but his enthusiasm grew as plans for the museum began to take shape. The museum’s groundbreaking in June of 2000, not long after the Schulz’s passing, seemed a fitting tribute to the artist’s career and his lasting impact on multiple generations of fans.
The museum, which opened in 2002, celebrates more than just the cast of “Peanuts”; it also explores the art of cartooning and the life and unique worldview of the creator himself. Though some exhibits include work by other artists – in 2011 the museum examined the influence of comic strips on the work of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and 16 other noted artists – most focus on the strip, exploring objects, aesthetics, and themes in Schulz’s work. It’s an approach that allows fans to fully appreciate the evolution and scope of Schulz’s beloved cartoons, which tackled a wide array of social issues alongside its depiction of the day-to-day trials and tribulations of childhood. Permanent exhibitions include a recreation of Schulz’s studio, a tile mosaic composed of 3,588 “Peanuts” comic strips, a wall featuring some of Schulz’s early artwork, and a labyrinth in the shape of Snoopy’s head.
In addition to its exhibits, the Charles M. Schulz Museum also offers a variety of classes and events to inspire and foster budding artists of all ages. The museum is located in California’s Sonoma County where Schulz lived and worked for nearly 40 years.