It would hardly feel like Halloween or Christmas or Valentine's
Day without a Charlie Brown holiday special popping up on your TV.
And now, "Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit" opens at The Museum
of Science and Industry, also perfectly timed to the holiday
The exhibit, created in partnership with the Charles M. Schulz
Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., explores the life of the cartoonist
and his famed comic strip and examines the evolution of the
characters from their beginnings in the 1950s to the more
recognizable versions of the '80s and '90s (did you know Charlie
didn't always wear that zigzag shirt?).
A large part of the exhibit includes 100 reproductions of
Schulz's work-although they might not be what you expect. The
strips actually were drawn very large and shrunk down to fit the
newspaper space, so each strip is about 2 feet wide and incredibly
Some of Schulz's personal items are on display in the
re-creation of his studio, including one of his drawing tables,
complete with a divot made from years and years of sketching.
However, Jeff Buonomo, manager of temporary exhibits for the
museum, says he expects the highlight to be the walk-in replica of
Snoopy's doghouse. The red structure was shown in many strips, and
occasionally described, but never seen from the inside. Keep your
eyes out for a pool table, shower and Van Gogh painting, all based
on Schulz's words.
"Our mission is to inspire inventive genius in all our guests,
by highlighting the creativity and inventive genius in Charles
Schulz," Buonomo says.
To that end, kids can try out creative projects in an area
called, naturally, "The Peanut Gallery." But beyond the basic
drawing activities, there will be the chance to see them come to
life via a zoetrope, a device that makes pictures seem
And Buonomo hopes the activities, combined with Schulz's story,
will inspire kids and adults alike to step away from the computer
and engage with their own creativity.
"It's kind of a great lighthearted look at a man that's inspired
us and left a piece of his legacy for everyone who's grown up with
the characters," he says.
And maybe the next time Charlie Brown fills your TV screen,
he'll help your family grow a little closer this holiday
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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