May 3 to November 2, 2014 | Downstairs Changing Gallery

“I feel that Peanuts reflects certain attitudes of life in our country today and perhaps some basic fears.” – Charles M. Schulz

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.

Schulz gently communicated the issues of the changing world around him through the unique pathos of his characters and his quick wit. And by remaining universally centrist, he gave readers the opportunity to interpret his comic strips according to their own personal dictates. Exceptions were rare and marked a moment of passionate appeal for causes he deemed personally significant, such as environmental concerns and civil rights advancement for women in sports.


This exhibition is generously sponsored by:




Media Sponsor