Sunday, January 17, 2016

Peek into the World of the Peanuts Gang at the Singapore Philatelic Museum

There is something special about old-fashioned letters and stamps. Enveloped within a hand-written note or a letter scripted using a manual typewriter is the sense of anticipation and touch of romance layered with an air of mystery, invoked by the postage stamps of various places which one have not yet been.

The Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM), located at a historic building near Fort Canning, pays tribute to the world of stamps and mail with archives of philatelic material. In recent years, the museum has rebooted itself by curating some of its marketing and exhibits by giving it a pop-culture slant.

One of its current exhibition is a ode to the popular syndicated comic strip "Peanuts" and its creator, Charles M. Schulz and launched in conjunction with "The Peanuts Movie" which opened at local cinemas last December. Incidentally, 2015 was also the 65th Anniversary of "Peanuts".

If you are a fan of the comic strip, you would already be aware that a whole lot of letter-writing is featured in the comic, with many of the characters interacting with family, friends and yes - even Santa - through snail mail. So, it is terrific that SPM is hosting the "With Love from Snoopy, Charlie Brown & the Peanuts Gang Exhibition", by bringing this aspect of the comic strip to life.

As a child, Red Dot Diva loved reading the Peanuts newspaper strip. The cartoons depicted the ups and downs of self-doubting Charlie Brown, his motley crew of classmate and their siblings, his loyal dog Snoopy and birdie pal Woodstock. In their daily comings and goings in the comic strip, Charles Shulz embodied these unique characters with both likeable and unlikeable qualities that one could easily relate to. Their little nuggets resonate truth and may seem simplistic at first, yet they carry important touchstones of honesty and compassion with an added layer of genuine intelligent funniness - a mix which Red Dot Diva feels is hard to find these days.

Or perhaps, it's just the nostalgia that's speaking. Whichever it is, Red Dot Diva made a solo trip to check out the exhibition last Christmas Eve, and she was not disappointed.

Don't forget to take photos with Snoopy and this mailbox!
The exhibit is housed on the first floor in the main area past the reception as well as in a separate gallery on the same floor.

Most of the Peanuts stamp collection are at the larger exhibit area, and include stamps and first day covers from countries like USA, Japan, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands.

There is also another red mailbox donated by the Hong Kong Post Office after handover of the territory to China, and right beside it, Snoopy's alter ego Flying Ace, is standing by.

You could join in the fun and camaraderie of the Peanuts Gang by taking a selfie with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock!

There is also a screening of the movie's trailer and interesting featurette on how the movie is being made.

This 1-metre tall Snoopy plush is also on display. If you count the number of times Snoopy appears on the postage stamps correctly, you may win the huge fluffy plushie!

In the smaller gallery is where the heart of the Peanuts exhibition is. Over here, there's an introduction to creator Charles Schulz.

Charles Schulz was a progressive man and a philantropist, and he loved writing back to his readers. Here's one of his replies to a fan thanking for sending him a Valentine's Day card.

Each main character is given his or her featured section, and Red Dot Diva pored through the reproduced comic strips on display, gloriously soaking in the whimsy of the Peanuts Gang world.


By admiring Charles Schulz unmistakable ink lines, style and his amazing sense of humour, she felt as if she got to know him and the characters, even those added much later like Peppermint Patty, more intimately.


Enclosed in a glass case are also some toys and collectibles on loan from the Charlie Brown Cafe and Mint Museum of Toys, including this Snoopy & Peanuts Hinamatsuri set from Japan.

Of course, one of the other fun thing to do is to take a commemorative selfie with this 1.5 metre tall Charlie Brown statue, courtesy of the Charlie Brown Cafe.

In collaboration with "The Peanuts Movie", Singpost had released special lanyard and Singapore stamps of 12 of the comic strip's characters, together with a myStamp folder. However, Red Dot Diva learnt that these have already been sold out at the museum and post offices much earlier on! They may still be available at the Charlie Brown Cafe's online store though.

However, if you're not a hardcore stamp collector, there are three ways you could get your hands on other "Peanuts" collectibles.

1. Send SPM A Peanuts Postcard
This can be purchased or handmade. All you need to do is to send SPM a handwritten Peanuts-themed postcard with a return address and the museum will send you back an exclusive postcard!
Till 30 April 2016.

2. Take A Selfie
Grab Snoopy, and hunt down your nearest mailbox. Take a selfie with Snoopy there, then post the photo up on SPM's Facebook page with the hashtag #singaporephilatelicmuseum and #PeanutsMovie. Private message SPM to receive an exclusive museum Peanuts postcard. Local participants will also receive a Charlie Brown Cafe voucher!
Till 30 April 2016.

Red Dot Diva snapped and posted this Snoopy + mailbox photo, and she got contacted to collect the cafe voucher within a day!

A photo posted by Red Dot Diva (@reddotdiva) on

$5 Charlie Brown Cafe Voucher collected! :D

A photo posted by Red Dot Diva (@reddotdiva) on

3. Count How Many Times Snoopy Appears on Stamps
Remember that photo of 1-metre tall Snoopy doll Red Dot Diva posted above? It's up for grabs if you visit the museum, count correctly the number of times Snoopy appears on the postage stamps and fill in an entry form. One lucky participant chosen from the pool of entries will win the Giant Snoopy plushie.
Till 30 April 2016.

Besides the contests, there are other activities, like a 3D model making workship, that one can take part in at the museum. For more information, do check out SPM's website.

The "With Love from Snoopy, Charlie Brown & the Peanuts Gang Exhibition" may be small compared to other exhibitions out there, but it is obvious that the show was curated with love.

For someone who is already a Peanuts fan, the collection with little tidbits of history brings about a deeper appreciation and respect for Charles M. Schulz. Never mind, if you are not yet familiar with the cartoon strip. Take in the fun, colourful and informative displays and enjoy a peek into the world of the Peanuts gang.

Red Dot Diva says the exhibition is absolutely worth a visit when you have a couple of hours to spare. Besides, entry to the SPM is FREE for locals and PR's :D

Admission charge for foreigners is SGD 6 for Adult; SGD 4 for Child (3 – 12 years).

The exhibition ends on 30 April 2016. 

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