NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. – Cape Fear Museum of History and Science announces the opening of our newest traveling exhibit, To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA. Just before the first man landed on the moon, Charlie Brown and Snoopy soared through space with NASA’s Apollo 10 mission in May 1969. The exhibition To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA examines the history of Apollo 10 and the Peanuts characters’ role in that flight and in the NASA Manned Flight Awareness safety program.
It is difficult to imagine—although some remember it well—the excitement that the race for the moon invoked fifty years ago. As the decade of the 1960s was coming to a close, America and the rest of the world waited with great anticipation to see if NASA could achieve President John F. Kennedy’s challenge, put forth in May 1961, of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Consequently, it was a very great honor, indeed, when the crew of Apollo 10 chose to nickname their command and lunar modules Charlie Brown and Snoopy, respectively. The flight of Apollo 10 in May 1969 was the “dress rehearsal” for the lunar landing that was scheduled for July 1969. Astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan piloted Snoopy within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface as they scouted the landing area for Apollo 11 while John Young orbited the moon in the command module Charlie Brown.
Charles Schulz’s involvement with NASA began a year earlier than the 1969 flight of Apollo 10 when he was approached by NASA with a request to use Snoopy as their safety mascot. The Silver Snoopy Award program was instituted to improve the safety record of NASA employees and contractors. It proved to be a huge success with the astronauts and the employees. The Silver Snoopy pin is a much coveted award. Snoopy has been on the job for 50 plus years and continues to this day in his role as NASA’s safety mascot.
In To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, visitors will see Snoopy’s trip to the moon in the March 1969 Peanuts strip series (besting NASA’s record by a few months!) and learn about NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award program. The exhibition also contains an interactive space where visitors may:
- Help Snoopy traverse the moon by building and testing a lunar rover
- Create a comic strip about launching from Earth and landing on the moon
- Climb into Snoopy’s doghouse and navigate through space
Apollo 10 is the mission that made Charlie Brown and Snoopy part of the U.S. space program,” stated Museum Director, Sheryl Kingery Mays, “and as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing this past summer, we are excited to share the story of Snoopy, the first beagle on the moon, with our community.
To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA will be on view now through April 12, 2020. In celebration of the exhibit opening, free Snoopy buttons will be given to visitors while supplies last.
To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California.
Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is located at 814 Market Street and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Standard admission prices are $8 for adults; $7 for seniors, students and military with valid ID; $5 for children 6-17; and free for children 5 and under and for museum members. New Hanover County residents’ free day is the first Sunday of each month. More information at 910-798-4370 or www.capefearmuseum.com.
*press release courtesy of nhcgov.com and the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina