Past Exhibitions

In our Downstairs Changing Gallery, we strive to present informative, innovative, and dynamic exhibitions for our visitors. In past exhibitions, we have explored the relationship of particular Peanuts characters, Charles Schulz’s cartooning influences and those who influenced him, and how Peanuts has been portrayed in American popular culture.


It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

January 28 to September 10, 2017
Charles Schulz brought his love of literature to his art, especially with his depiction of Snoopy as the “World Famous Author” sitting atop his doghouse using a typewriter. Snoopy began his writing career in July, 1965 with that infamous first line originally penned by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

This exhibition explores Charles Schulz’s love of literature, displays rarely seen books from his personal library collection, and highlights many Peanuts comic strips where books and writing appear in the everyday lives of his characters. An interactive typing display allows visitors to share in Snoopy’s experience and step into the paw prints of the World Famous Author.


Mr. Schulz Goes to Washington

April 30, 2016 to January 22, 2017
In this election year, a little laughter from the Peanuts Gang is in order. The lighter-side of politics and its intersection with the life of Charles Schulz is the focus of this exhibition, which features original presidential-themed Peanuts comic strips, correspondence with several American presidents, and Peanuts memorabilia, including campaign bumper stickers, buttons, and banners. Visitors can vote for their favorite Peanuts character and write a postcard to the future president.


Snoopy and the Red Baron

October 24, 2015 to April 24, 2016
Snoopy first imagined himself as a World War I flying ace on October 10, 1965, making 2015 the 50th anniversary of this popular persona. To celebrate this most famous of Snoopy’s personas, this exhibition focuses on this favorite storyline in Peanuts through original comic strips; World War I airplane models; Peanuts figurines, books, collectible plates; and board games inspired by Snoopy as the Flying Ace.

Visitors can also step into the world of The Peanuts Movie in the interactive area sponsored by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. They can visit Charlie Brown’s backyard, put on flying caps and goggles, and soar over Paris on Snoopy’s doghouse.


Animating Comics

May 2 to October 18, 2015
The December 9, 1965 debut of A Charlie Brown Christmas brought Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang home to more than 15 million television viewers and enjoyed immediate acclaim. Earning an Emmy for Best Network Animated Special and a Peabody Broadcasting Award, this 30-minute production and the Peanuts films and television specials that followed have become treasured additions to our collective culture.

This exhibition celebrates the art of bringing comics to life and features rarely displayed production cels from award-winning animated comics, including Peanuts, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Museum collection boasts four rare animation cels from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which will be on view together for the first time. This is the Museum’s largest exhibition about animation to date.


Peanuts in Wonderland

November 8, 2014 through April 26, 2015
Charles M. Schulz kept more than one copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll in his library. Beginning in January 1958, and for many years thereafter, he featured the story in Peanuts. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Sally all read the book aloud, and Snoopy liked to show off his disappearing “Cheshire Beagle trick.”

Peanuts in Wonderland celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and features 11 original Peanuts strips, Archie and Pogo artwork; and explores Alice in illustration; comic books, and animation.


Social Commentary

May 3 through November 2, 2014
Health care, gun control, the environment, and racial equality were all topics broached by Charles M. Schulz in the fifty years he created the Peanuts comic strip. His beloved Peanuts characters raised issues of the day; Lucy embraced feminist philosophies, Linus panicked when he mistook snow for nuclear fallout, and Sally whispered about praying in school. Schulz also introduced Franklin, a black Peanuts character, into the predominately white cast July 31, 1968, just months after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

Social Commentary re-examines Peanuts in the context of the social and political climate of the latter half of the twentieth century. In addition to original Peanuts comic strips, the exhibition features original Wee Pals, Gordo, Pogo, and Little Orphan Annie strips. It also highlights reaction letters from the Museum’s archives, and contextual artifacts.


Mid-Century Modern

May 4 through October 27, 2013
Many of the Peanuts comic strips of the late 1950s and 1960s exude the mid-century modern aesthetic of the day — the furniture, decorative pieces, and fabrics were hip, cool and up-to-date. In a series of vignettes these elements will be compared with the work of some prominent mid-century designers, including Ray and Charles Eames. Another component of the exhibition examines how the Schulzes incorporated the design aesthetic in their lifestyle through photographs and ephemera.


Name Dropping

August 18 through December 9, 2012
A Peanuts reader never knew who they might meet in Schulz’s famous strip. Schulz shone the spotlight on politicians, sports stars, actors, authors, scientists, and even his hockey-playing buddy. In addition to original Peanuts strips, this exhibition also includes photographs of and correspondence with some of these famous folks.


Leveling The Playing Field

December 17 through August 12, 2012
June 23, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX legislation, which ensures equal access to both men and women in federally-funded educational programs and activities, including sports. Leveling the Playing Field, a current exhibition at the Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center, commemorates this milestone in sports history while adding the hilarity of Peanuts to the tribute.

Leveling the Playing Field features Charles Schulz’s even-handed depiction of girls in sports with 86 original Peanuts comic strips, an overview of women’s sports history, and examples of women’s sports attire from the 1880s to the present. The exhibition will also detail Schulz’s connections in the world of women’s sports, his friendship with legendary sports icon Billie Jean King, and his early years coaching a local women’s softball team.

After Schulz met Billie Jean King, he highlighted the issue of females in sports with a multi-day storyline in 1979 about Title IX in his comic strip. Schulz brought attention to women athletes by mentioning contemporary female sports stars and having his girl characters participate in a wide variety of sports, from football to figure skating. From Peppermint Patty’s athletic dominance to Lucy’s ineptitude in the right field to Marcie’s total bewilderment with sports of all kinds, the girls in Peanuts were always equal participants.


Pop’d From the Panel

June 25 to December 11, 2011
Pop’d from the Panel
sought to explore the influence comic strips and cartoon art has had on the work of such noted artists as Enrique Chagoya, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Ron English, Sherrie Levine, Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud and Andy Warhol. Co-curated by Michael Schwager, Sonoma State University Gallery Director and Professor of Art History, the exhibition featured 29 two- and three-dimensional works of art.

Pop’d from the Panel featured work by 18 noted artists: James Barsness, Nina Bovasso, Enrique Chagoya, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Ron English, Tom Everthart, Llyn Foulkes, David Gilhooly, Jess Harrold, Gottfried Helnwein, José Ramón Lerma, Sherrie Levine, Roy Lichtenstein, Suzanne Morlock, Richard Pettibone, Mel Ramos, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol


The Browns & The Van Pelts: Siblings in Peanuts

January 29 through June 19, 2011
Though he himself was an only child, Schulz recognized the potential for drama and humor inherent in sibling relationships, which are among the most influential and enduring associations in our lives. Over the years Peanuts portrayed many familial antics, including bossy older sisters, embarrassment caused by a brother’s inept kite-flying or chronic blanket-toting, and the petty bickering that can be a staple of brother/sister interactions. However, Schulz’s comic siblings were also capable of tenderhearted softness—help with homework, sage advice, comfort, and understanding.


Peanuts . . . Naturally

August 28, 2010 through January 23, 2011
Charles Schulz touched on many aspects of the natural world during the nearly 50 years he created Peanuts. Peanuts … Naturally examines Schulz’s exploration of the natural world in a fun and educational way. Following its run at the Schulz Museum, the exhibition is traveling throughout the United States to more than 31 museums and libraries for five years (from 2011 to 2016).


The Language of Lines: Imaginary Places in the Comics

April 24 through August 22, 2010
From the richly detailed flora and fauna of Pogo’s Okefenokee Swamp to the minimalist surroundings of Peanuts, cartoonists have long created rich environments in which their characters live, work, and play. Imaginary Places in the Comics presented an in-depth look at the choices cartoonists have made when creating the places their cartoon characters inhabit. Featuring over 60 comic strips, the exhibition welcomed audiences to visit Li’l Abner’s Dogpatch, Krazy Kat’s Coconino County, and Beetle Bailey’s Camp Swampy. Co-curated by Brian Walker, co-curator of the critically-acclaimed exhibition, Masters of American Comics.

View a complete list of exhibition titles displayed in the Museum’s Downstairs Changing Gallery between 2002 and 2009 here.