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SANTA ROSA, CA-After two years of planning and two years of building, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, an $8-million project, opened its doors to the public this weekend.

The 28,000-sf museum is located near Schulz’s Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which he built Santa Rosa, where he lived for 42 years. Before he passed away in 2000, Charles Schultz approved the museum plans, which were designed by San Francisco architect C. David Robinson.

After his death, his wife, Jeannie, took charge of completing the $8 million museum. Jeannie is president of the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s board of directors, which has overseen its design and construction from the start.

“We had the best possible material to work with,” says the museum’s director Ruth Gardener Begell. That material includes a 3,588-tile mural with an image of Charlie Brown running to kick the football held by Lucy. The mural by Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani took two years to create and its theme is the “everyday aspect of doing a daily cartoon for 50 years,” the artist said.

Otani also created a 7,000-pound morphing sculpture that depicts the evolution of Snoopy, and of Schulz’s work, over the past half century. The museum contains two galleries with permanent and changing exhibitions of original strips and memorabilia illustrating the Peanuts creator’s career and his influence on the art of the comic strip.

The facility includes a research library and archives with books containing Schulz’s work in several languages, as well as a video nook, a 100-seat auditorium and outdoor gardens and exhibits, including a Snoopy labyrinth.

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