Works over so it time to see what’s in the area besides food and wine. We went to the Charles Schulz Museum this afternoon. Schulz was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1922 and moved to California in the 1960’s. Before the WWII as a teenager, Schulz enrolled in Art Instruction Institute correspondence course to learn about drawing and cartooning. I actually applied to Art Instruction Institute for the same course when I was in high school, but for whatever reason we never followed through. Schulz was drafted in 1943 and served in the army in WWII with the 20th Armored Division in Europe. He was a devoted follower of Bill Mauldin and his cartoon characters of Willie and Joe who appeared in the Stars and Stripes through out the wear. He returned to Art instruction after the war before he was finally able to begin publishing a regular comic strip in 1950. After a somewhat slow beginning, Peanuts eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time, as well as one of the most influential. It was in some 2,600 news papers in 75 countries and 21 languages at its height. Peanuts lasted nearly 50 years until Schulz retired in 1999. He died the next year from colon cancer.
The museum is dedicated to the works of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts comic strip. The museum opened on August 17, 2002. The museum is home to many of the original Peanuts strips, as well as other artwork by Schulz. Two works by Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani dominate the Great Hall: a 3.5 ton wood sculpture depicting the evolution of Snoopy and a 22 ft high ceramic mural made of 3,588 Peanuts strips which combine to form the image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick it. I’ve posted a picture of the mural with some detail. There’s also a section of the exhibit that focuses on the Peanuts gang interest in space and the stars. I had forgotten how entertaining the Peanuts gang could be.
As a native of Minnesota, Schulz developed a life long love of ice hockey. He and his wife Jeanne built and owned the Redwood Empire Ice Arena or Snoopy’s Home Ice. It is host to the annual Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament, in which 64 teams from all over the world come to Santa Rosa for a week-long hockey tournament in the summer. The Arena has the Warm Puppy Café which Schulz used to visit every morning for coffee and breakfast. His table is still there waiting for him to return.
After the museum we headed up to Healdsburg for dinner. We had planned to eat at the Dry Creek Kitchen, but they weren’t open for dinner at the time we got there. We decided on burgers at the Bar & Grill. The food was good, but not nearly as elegant as Dry Creek. We’ll have to try again a little later in the afternoon.