Traveling exhibit explores nature with ‘Peanuts’ characters


The traveling interactive exhibit, “Peanuts... Naturally,” opens Saturday at the Florida Museum of Natural History with a day of special activities planned. (COURTESY OF THE CHARLES M. SCHULTZ MUSEUM)

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 1:39 p.m.

Charlie Brown is going green.

Facts

‘Peanuts ... Naturally: Charlie Brown and Friends Explore Nature’

What: Traveling exhibit explores nature with characters from “Peanuts” and items from the Florida Museum
When: Opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 2, 2013; museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, Southeast 34th Street and Hull Road
Tickets: $4 adults, $3.50 for Florida residents, seniors and college students, $3 for ages 3-17
Info: 846-2000, www.flmnh.ufl.edu

‘Water: Discovering and Sharing Solutions’
What: Temporary exhibit explains how UF is finding solutions to global challenges involving water, invasive animals and plants, and food production.
When: Opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 2, 2013
Cost: Free

OPENING DAY EVENTS
Saturday’s special events for the traveling exhibit, “Peanuts... Naturally: Charlie Brown and Friends Explore Nature,” and the new temporary exhibit, “Water: Discovering and Sharing Solutions,” run 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday unless otherwise noted and include the following:
George A. Smathers Libraries: An interactive printing press from the libraries shows how newspapers and “Peanuts” comic strips were printed in the 19th century.
Sequential Artists Workshop: Group offers demonstrations of comic strip writing, drawing and inking with hands-on family activities.
“Abraham Lincoln”: The 16th president, who signed the Morrill Act, will speak with visitors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Florida Friendly Landscaping Program: Group provides information on water-conscious landscaping and water conservation.

On Saturday, the Florida Museum of Natural History unveils its new traveling exhibit — “Peanuts ... Naturally: Charlie Brown and Friends Explore Nature.” The exhibit was created by the Charles M. Schultz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif., and features many of Schultz’ cartoon strips dealing with nature.

“One of our staff had the idea to do something about nature,” says Dinah Houghtaling, the Schultz Museum’s traveling exhibits manager. “We thought that would be great because we could hit a new audience that we don’t normally send exhibits to — science and children’s museums.”

Houghtaling says that Schultz loved nature and included the theme very often in his drawings.

“He was always aware of current trends, and he always put that into his strips,” she says. “Really, early on in the late, ’60s and ’70s, he was talking about air pollution and things like that. As our curator started looking at all the strips, there were actually too many to choose from.”

The exhibit will feature cartoons on different topics like the universe, trees, gardening and birds.

“The nice thing is that, when you’re exploring science, the Peanuts characters are so non-threatening, it’s a great way to introduce the topic,” Houghtaling says. “Part of it is about recycling, reusing, and taking care of the Earth, it’s a timely topic.”

In addition to the comic strips, the Museum of Natural History will include items from its collection to enhance the experience.

“We were able to get a black bear mount,” says Tina Choe, the Florida Museum’s exhibit developer. “It is a stuffed black bear that was legally hunted and stuffed, and the whole story revolves around, if you protect the area of one bear’s habitat, you can protect a lot of species. We paired that with the Florida Wildlife Corridor story; we’re trying to reconnect habitats through a corridor in Florida which will allow species like bears to roam in their natural habitat.

“It’s looking at things that humans need but also trying to connect the habitats of these animals. We made this huge floor map that you can walk on and follow the path that they are proposing to connect these habitats.”

Other museum pieces will highlight the archaeology of Florida and the history of gardening, including 1800-year-old seeds.

The museum also has many activities planned specially for Saturday’s opening day, including live amphibians and an interactive printing press display that will show how newspaper was printed in the 19th century.

“It is a perfect way to share nature with people,” Choe says. “Any way we can bring people back to nature is a great thing for the museum.”

Opening day at the museum also will see an appearance by Abraham Lincoln as part of the exhibit, “Water: Discovering and Sharing Solutions.” That exhibit, which also opens Saturday at the museum, is part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1862, which was signed by Lincoln and enabled the creation of land-grant universities, including the University of Florida.

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