Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good grief.

I have always wanted to go to the Charles Schulz Museum - but Santa Rosa seemed soooo far away. This trip, I was determined - and rented a car just to haul it all the way out there.

With so many visuals these days, my kids aren't that familiar with the Peanuts characters, or even the holiday movies. They know who Snoopy is, and that's about it. But for me - I grew up reading the strip and loving the animated features.

The 'museum' plan is broken down into three parts, a gallery at the far end including a large store which sold a lot of the same things we have out here at Knott's Berry Farm.

The second building houses a reknown indoor skating rink and the Warm Puppy Cafe, where Charles Schulz actually sat and ate breakfast every morning.

It was a sweet little place, and you can tell that it is PACKED with kids having their birthday parties there every weekend.

But it's the main museum itself that I just adored. It seemed to capture the essence of Charles Schulz himself. As you enter you see a wall image of the famous Charlie Brown football scene, looking closer you start to realize that the image is made up of strips - over 3500 of them, that's 10 years of Peanuts!

The bottom floor has changing exhibitions and a look into the evolution of the strips. I'm such a sucker, I had to take a pic of these adorable bathroom door signs:

Also on the ground level was an outdoor HOLOGRAM garden. What the? The kids loved running around in the 40 degree rain. Me - I think I'd enjoy it more in the Spring, frankly.

The first floor was neat, but it was upstairs where we spent most of our time. The permanent exhibitions are here, there was a wall that they had excavated from the Schulz home that had pre-Peanuts paintings on a nursery wall. And since I am a big fan of modern art I just LOVED the Christo 'Wrapped Snoopy House'.

But right next door...the Kid could not pull himself away from the Education Room. Here they offered 'art' lessons: drawing Snoopy, doghouse origami, but the Kid's favorite were the interactive zoetropes.

The docent explained that you could draw a series of pictures and watch them 'move' as you spun the drum. That was it. The Kid could not contain his excitement.

The docent suggested the Kid draw something like a 'ball bouncing.' Jigga please. My kid is not going to draw a ball bouncing - I knew immediately it would involve something with lightsabers and I was right. The kid quickly (cause I was pressuring him to hurry up - there's more to see!) drew a series of panels of two Jedis battling.

The docent came back and certainly was surprised to not see a ball bouncing - but he put the Kid's artwork in the drum, spun it, and what do you know - there were the Jedis moving in a lightsaber duel. I think that little art lesson meant more to him than even the previous day's trip to Skywalker Ranch.

I'll say it again, I adore simplicity. When you can break things down with subtle lines that aren't overdrawn or overworked, I think that is true talent. My favorite part of the museum was the replica of Charles Schulz's office. I just liked seeing the positioning of his desk, the materials he used - you can tell a lot about people by the looks of their desk.

I love that he sketched every day, meaningless, 'not so good' things. But then he threw them away, only to be retrieved by his secretary who took them home, ironed them, and kept them for safe keeping. You gotta love that.

This museum was truly a reflection of a great man who did amazing work and touched many people's lives just by drawing 'funny pictures'. I'm so glad I finally got to visit.



Blogger The Food Librarian said...

can't wait to go. love this! and i adore his secretary!!! - mary

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 5:10:00 PM  
OpenID supahcute said...

you take the best trips!! totally loving those bathroom signs.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I definitely need to try to visit this place next time I'm up that way!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 8:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Loree said...

We finally made it there a couple of years ago & it was SO fun -- esp. since my daughter LOVES Snoopy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Sandra Dee said...

We were fortunate to be able to visit a few years ago. Loved every minute of it....

Your pictures and comments brought back some awesome memories.....we still talk about that visit :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Campbell said...

When I saw the bathroom signs, I knew we needed to go (post haste). Had a great visit on Saturday-of course we stopped at Bouchon on the way over the hill-and enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for the inspiration!

Monday, December 06, 2010 6:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Oh, I love this museum! My mom and I took my grandma there a couple of years ago and she loved it!! My grandma loves her some Snoopy. She took pictures next to EVERY statue inside and out!

Thursday, December 09, 2010 9:46:00 PM  
Blogger _ said...

I know you posted this a couple years ago but I couldn't help but respond. I grew up literally a half mile from the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. So many great memories...especially standing awestruck and silent when I would see 'Sparky'. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:44:00 AM  

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