WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – His name has become synonymous with “Joe Too Cool” in the Ohio Valley.
If you know the popular cartoon, then you know the name Dr. William Mercer.
A walk into his office transported you into the world of the “Peanuts” characters, but now that he’s retired, his collection has a new home.
We had to put it someplace. My wife wasn’t going to let me bring it home.Dr. William Mercer, “Snoopy” Collector
What better place to house this massive collection than the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum?
It’s where nostalgic memories come flooding back and they definitely will with a walk through “Dr. Mercer’s Joe Too Cool Exhibit”
When I was a child, probably about 14, I liked to draw. I liked to draw cartoons and ‘Peanuts’ was easy for me to draw. So, I just kind of kept doing that. I always had an affection for the characters. When I had my own office I put in a pediatric Peanuts room.Dr. William Mercer, “Snoopy” Collector
And so it began.
Patients brought Dr. Mercer most of the pieces visitors will see in the collection, all related to the beloved “Snoopy” and his friends.
How many items you ask?
That includes 265 neckties and 248 “Snoopy” shirts.
Each item is carefully displayed and organized by the staff at the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum.
When you think of ‘Snoopy’, you think of happy. We wanted to make this a very happy, bright place. It used to be very dark and kids didn’t want to come down here because they were scared. That’s the big inspiration for it.Becky Gerlak, Manager, Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum
From “Camp Snoopy” to “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”, every “Peanuts” persona is here.
Some walls are even dedicated to the homemade creations of Dr. Mercer’s patients. Each lovingly made with him in mind.
There’s a special section of the exhibit that may be one of Dr. Mercer’s favorites. There are books with thousands of photos. Each one is of Dr. Mercer, a piece of the collection, and the person who gifted it to him.
Just bring back memories of all the times they had with the ‘Peanuts’ characters on TV, ‘The Great Pumpkin’, ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’, just really great memories.Dr. William Mercer, “Snoopy” Collector
One of the first “Snoopy” figures you’ll see is a giant Joe Too Cool that Dr. Mercer helped design.
I just happened to see online that they were honoring Charles Schulz in Santa Rosa and the statue was ‘Joe Cool’. So, I called out there and said can I do ‘Joe Too Cool to Smoke’? They said we usually don’t do themes like that, but I’ll let you talk to Craig Schulz. So, I did. He said ‘no not really, but I actually like that idea I’ll let you do it’.Dr. William Mercer, “Snoopy” Collector
The custom designed figure is what started the “Joe Too Cool to Smoke and Vape” program in 2007 that’s educated thousands of Ohio Valley children throughout the years.
I think we’ve helped a lot of kids not smoke or vape and we’ll just continue to do that.Dr. William Mercer, “Snoopy” Collector
The first half of this exhibit opens this Saturday, March 18th at 11:00 a.m. on the lower floor of the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum.
There will be activities for the whole family including t-shirts for kids, crafts, a selfie station and more.
Dr. Mercer will be doing his “Joe Too Cool to Smoke or Vape” presentations throughout the day.
The second half of the collection will be opening in July, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum is celebrating 25 years this year!
So, they have plenty of fun planned coming up.
On March 31st you can celebrate the Easter season with the “Great Bunny Detective” egg hunt from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. It’s $9 to participate.
June 16-17 is the “Marx Toy and Train Show”.
Also in June, the museum will be hosting a “Build Your Own Fairy Garden event”.
Finally, since the museum building was once a school, they will be inviting former students back this year to fill a time capsule.
Keep up with all the events at toyandtrain.com or on the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum Facebook page. You can also call them at 304-242-8133.