Museum of Science and Industry

Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit

October 25, 2012 - February 18, 2013

Image: Frank Ross, 1956; Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa, Calif.

The Artist

The look at Charles Schulz's life and work begins with an introduction to the artist himself. To know Peanuts is to know a lot about the man behind the pen, though sometimes with a bit of reading between the lines. Learn details about his childhood and formative years, which contained many indicators he was destined for comic strip success…

His Life and Times

Did you know his nickname "Sparky" came from a horse in the Barney Google comic strip? Or that his first published drawing of a dog was in Ripley's Believe It or Not!... at age fourteen? Of course, that was the black-and-white family dog who would be the inspiration for a certain famous beagle. Later, there were also his art instruction colleagues named Charlie Brown… and Linus… and Freida. See if you can recognize the many other details of his life that were later immortalized within the panels of Peanuts.

Working for Peanuts

Trace five decades of Peanuts history, from its 1947 beginnings as L'il Folks in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, to syndication as Peanuts in seven newspapers in 1950, to more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries by the time of Schulz's retirement. Along the way, Schulz's work would take him from television to the Louvre, and even into Moon orbit: the Apollo 10 astronauts named their command module and lunar module "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy."

The Creative Process

Charles Schulz created and drew every one of the 17,897 daily and Sunday Peanuts strips that spanned nearly 50 years, personally crafting every joke and pen stroke. For the first time on tour, a recreation of Schulz's studio in Santa Rosa, California is in the exhibit. His drafting table, the range of pens and tools, and even the personal photos and wall hangings he kept there present a vivid picture of his daily creative environment.

This exhibit is organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Museum Hours
  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
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Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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