There are certain movies or books that fade out over time, and there are others that seem to be timeless. Peanuts, a beloved comic series from the 1950s, is one of the latter. Created by Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts revolves around a group of friends and their everyday adventures. It is largely regarded as one of the most iconic comics in history and has been adapted into several TV specials and feature films.
In April 2016, the Snoopy Museum was opened in Tokyo, Japan. Named after the comic’s iconic dog, the Snoopy Museum has shown several exhibitions over the course of two years. During my visit to Tokyo, I had the opportunity to visit the museum before it closes later this year. The theme of the current and final exhibition was “Friendship in Peanuts.” It was fitting, seeing that one of the defining characteristics of the Peanuts series was its complicated web of relationships.
[A poster advertising the Friendship in Peanuts exhibition, Photo courtesy of the Snoopy Museum website]
Once buying tickets to the exhibition, which had four-panel Peanuts comic strips on one side, I could see a photo spot where visitors could take photos with cutout versions of characters. Next to it was a wall of black and white Peanuts strips released over the past decades that, seen from a distance, would appear to be a picture of Charlie Brown, the protagonist of Peanuts.
After viewing the pre-exhibition photo spots, a museum employee would open the door to a video-screening room, the first section of the exhibition. They would play a short animated clip introducing the main characters of Peanuts and the ideas and friendships behind the story. Other than that, however, most of the exhibition was myriad unreleased and/or original comic strips from Peanuts that were divided into which particular friendships they showed.
[The original copy of a strip featuring a snarky comment from friends Patty and Violet, Photo Courtesy of Rachel Lee]
Although there were nearly ten different sections of friendships, the two most iconic were the comic strip sections of Charlie Brown and Shemy, as well as that of Patty and Violet. They represented perhaps the first human and humorous friendship in Peanuts respectively, offering visitors a wide variety of strips to read.
The final part of the exhibition was the gift shop, an essential part to every museum or tourist attraction. Although the exhibition itself was centered on all of the characters of Peanuts, the gift shop was almost entirely focused on Snoopy merchandise, from stuffed versions of the beloved dog to backpack key chains. Either way, visiting and purchasing from the gift shop was a great way for Peanuts fanatics all around the world to keep their love for the comic series in solid form.
[One particular souvenir that can be bought from the gift shop is a Snoopy keychain, Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]
With the final strip of Peanuts being published nearly two decades ago and the last film being released three years ago, it seemed that the world of Peanuts that seemed to be never ending was finally shutting down. With this exhibit in mind, however, it reminds us that though there may not be new original content in the future, the legacy of Peanuts will live on with audiences as long as we remember how it taught us many lessons about friendship and family.
Seoul International School
Rachel Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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