The Charles M. Schulz Museum: A Tribute to Sparky and Snoopy


schultz490.jpgIn the heart of Sonoma County's wine country, just one hour from San Francisco, visitors flock to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, or "Snoopy's Home," as it has been affectionately dubbed since its opening in August 2002. The 27,000 square-foot building, housing more than 6,000 square feet of gallery space, a re-creation of Schulz's studio, a theatre, education room, and research center with library and archives, was unveiled after four years of planning. Schulz himself was involved with each design stage during the first two years. After he passed away in 2000, at the age of 77, his widow, friends and family worked with museum and design professionals to see the project through to completion.

The resulting space is a meaningful tribute to "Sparky," as the artist was called by those close to him. Given Schulz's international recognition, the museum could have been built anywhere, but its eventual location was chosen for the special significance it held for Schulz during the last 30 years of his life. The corner of Hardies Lane in Santa Rosa, CA, was at the center of Schulz's neighborhood and near his art studio, allowing today's visitors to truly enter the artist's world. Exhibitions change 3 to 4 times a year, carrying out the museum's mission to celebrate the life of the artist and the Peanuts characters, and, in a broader sense, to build an understanding of cartoonists and cartoon art. Past exhibitions have included "The Language of Lines: How Cartoonists Communicate," "Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse," "Top Dogs: Comic Canines Before and After Snoopy," and "From Elzie C. Segar to Frank Wing: A Legacy Continued," an exhibition showcasing the work of the cartoonists who inspired Schulz throughout his childhood and career.

As of December 2008, budding and established cartoonists can sketch throughout the museum's galleries in a custom Moleskine sketchbook, on sale at the museum store. The cover is debossed with the name of the museum and a drawing of Snoopy, whose mischievous smile and playful expression are also reproduced on the paper band. On January 3, 2000, a few weeks before Charles M. Schulz's death, the final daily Peanuts newspaper strip was published with a farewell note. "Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy...how can I ever forget them," Schulz wrote.

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More than anything, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center works to ensure we won't forget Snoopy, either.