I finally visited the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, home of the Peanuts gang.
It’s a modern building nestled off the main road in a quiet neighborhood. Parking is free. What a gift.
Charlie Brown greets you at the entrance. He doesn’t have much to say. He wears a scripted grin. But hey, he’s there.
When you look to your right, you’ll see Snoopy snoozing on top of his dog house. He’s knocked out from the last batch of visitors. No performance there.
As you step through the front door, you hear the Linus and Lucy theme music from the popular Christmas special.
A ticket buys you a trip down memory lane. If you’re a Peanuts aficionado like I am, I am enthralled by the history of the cartoon strip and how the characters began and then morphed into the crazy people I know and love.
My favorites are Lucy in her psychiatry box and Snoopy.
At the far end of the main hall you’ll be drawn to a huge wall of Lucy and Charlie Brown. Upon closer inspection you realize it’s made of a zillion cartoon strips. And each frame is a tile. Impressive. The genius who created it must have a lust for the miniature or he’s in a rocking chair somewhere muttering to himself as he overlooks a green meadow.
The second floor contains Schultz’s entire office – the one he used in real life – including chair and drawing board and photos and books. Adjacent to this is another room showcasing the many awards he received over the years, including an Emmy and a Peabody. That’s the closest I’ve ever come to either one. The Emmy is quite stunning, made of gold, of course. It would look better on my mantlepiece.
Outside the building, Peanuts figures, the size of school-age children, stand all over the garden. They’re there for climbing and taking pictures. I sat on a bench with Snoopy and Woodstock and held court for a while. I was keen on discovering how they kept their sanity year in and year out. Woodstock said his secret is daily hydro-therapy in his bird bath. Snoopy admitted he begs for more food, which he rarely gets, so he lies on the roof of his dog house and howls at the moon until somebody from the house throws a pillow at him.