HAYS, Kan. — Charlie Brown is in trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lucy knows the Earth has 48 suns, and Snoopy and Linus are planting french fries in the garden. These are just a few of the misadventures and explanations gone wrong as the Peanuts Gang explores the natural world — what other trouble will they find?!
“Peanuts… Naturally,” opening Thursday, April 21, at Fort Hays State University’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History, takes a lighthearted look at Charles Schulz’s exploration of the natural world through Peanuts comic strips, videos, objects and interactive stations. Visitors get a Peanuts-eye view of the universe, the “web of nature,” trees, birds, the elements (snow, wind, rain and clouds), gardening, and Charlie Brown’s EPA escapade. More scientifically oriented interactive stations allow kids of all ages, from preschool to adults, to learn more about and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.
Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip for nearly 50 years, was immensely curious and an avid reader and took a keen interest in the latest research findings in a variety of fields. It is not a surprise that many of these findings and facts found their way into Schulz’s comic strip, carefully interpreted through his characters’ unique and sometimes wacky understanding of their world.
The opening of the exhibition is just one of several activities at the museum that are scheduled for the week of Earth Day, which is April 22.
On April 19 at 7:30 p.m., the Smoky Hill Chorale, a community choir under the direction of Dr. Terry Crull, assistant professor of music at FHSU, presents its debut concert in the museum’s Seibel Lobby, performing selections of the “nature-based” variety.
The following day, April 20, marks not only “Hays Third-Grader Day” but also “Media Day” at the museum. Third-graders from participating schools will be transported to the museum to see “Peanuts… Naturally” one day in advance of its official opening. Representatives of the media may visit the exhibit well into the evening.
A Hays Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Seibel Lobby at 10 a.m. on April 21 will serve as the official opening of “Peanuts… Naturally,” which will be on display on the museum’s second floor and subject to regular museum admission.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will also serve as the official opening of two new and impressive permanent displays located in the lobby.
The Sternberg Museum of Natural History is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Beginning Memorial Day and lasting through Labor Day, the museum is open Monday as well, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for youths ages 4 to 12, and $4 for FHSU students with a valid ID. Children 3 and under are free.
For more information, call 785-628-4286 or 877-332-1165.
“Peanuts… Naturally” is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, Calif. It is sponsored locally by McDonald’s of Colby, Hays, Russell, and WaKeeney, and Eagle Communications Inc.
For more information on the “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibit, contact Mark Kellerman, the Sternberg Museum’s public relations director, at 785-628-5298.