This week marks the six-month milestone in the statewide campaign to put the world’s most beloved beagle on an official California license plate, and help generate needed funds for the state’s museums at the same time. Since late January, over 4,200 Californians have pre-ordered an official Snoopy license plate—which is 56 percent of the 7,500 applications required by the State before the new plates go into production. The license plate features a reproduction of an iconic original Snoopy drawing by Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz and the phrase “museums are for everyone.”
“The outpouring of interest and support has been fantastic,” said Celeste DeWald, executive director of the California Association of Museums. “Although we still have time to sell 3,300, we would like to reach the required number of pre-sold plates as soon as possible. The sooner we reach that number, the sooner DMV will start producing Snoopy plates and California museums will have a new funding source.”
Snoopy was chosen as an ambassador for museums because his well-rounded life and interests exemplify the kind of life-long learning that museums make possible. Snoopy’s multiple guises in the strip (WWI Flying Ace, Joe Cool, Olympic athlete, scout leader, writer, the first dog to fly solo across the Atlantic) often relate to 20th century history and culture, a key subject in many museums. Snoopy is also a real life mascot for aviation and space, with a lunar module in the United States Apollo space program named after him.
The Snoopy plate is also an opportunity to commemorate Santa Rosa cartoonist and cultural icon Charles Schulz. Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz and founder of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, the Schulz family, and Peanuts Worldwide are generously allowing access to the original drawing for this special license plate.
Proceeds from sales of the Snoopy license plate will establish a competitive grant program to support California museums. California has over 1,400 museums devoted to history, art, science, and natural history, in addition to zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. The program will be administered by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, a State entity tasked with preserving and protecting California’s cultural heritage.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing the Snoopy license plates upon receipt of 7,500 paid applications. If the Snoopy plate does not receive 7,500 pre-paid orders by late January 2015, the CCHE will either fully refund plate orders or, with the permission of the plate purchasers, retain funds to extend the campaign for a second year.
Snoopy license plates are $50 initially and then $40 per year to renew. Purchasers may also choose to have the plate personalized for $98 the first year and $78 to renew. A portion may be considered a charitable contribution that is tax deductible.
Snoopy and museums fans are encouraged to visit www.snoopyplate.com to pre-order their Snoopy license plates and support California’s museums.