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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
2010 News Archive
News Archive

Sunday February 14
Join us as we celebrate Valentine's Day with our annual fundraiser, Valley Wines and Valentines.  This years event will be held from 5 to 7PM on Sunday February 14.
There will be plenty of Valentine's Day treats, including appetizers, a sumptuous cheese board, fruit and chocolates. A variety of award-winning local wines will be available for tasting. “She's My Band” members Carole Ann Colone on percussion and Pamela Harris on pedal harp will return to entertain guests. 
Admission is $10 per person which includes a logo wine glass, wine tasting, non-alcoholic beverages, food and entertainment.
The winners of Elverhøj's Fabulous Valentine Raffle will be drawn during the event. Grand Prize is “Cupid's Wine Cellar,” a 24-bottle wine collection donated by local vintners. Two lucky First Prize winners will each receive 12 bottles of selected wines. A wealth of additional prizes, ranging from gift baskets and certificates to wine and treats, will be awarded at the event.
Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. They are available for purchase at Elverhøj. Invitations, which include five raffle tickets, will be mailed to members.
Our traditional silent auction will feature a small but select number of highly desirable items including special wine magnums, gift certificates and baskets.
Proceeds from this event fund Museum programs, exhibits, services and facilities. For more information or to obtain tickets, phone the Museum at (805) 686-1211.


We invite you to support the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art by being a member for 2010. The museum depends on your support to sustain programs, services and facilities. Memberships and donations make an important contribution to the museum's financial foundation and the preservation of archives unique to our area, as well as provide support for exhibitions, events, classes and services.
Membership privileges include:

  • Invitations to all museum events and exhibits, including the annual Christmas party
  • Fee discounts and priority registration for classes and events
  • 10% discount on most Museum Store purchases
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Free admission & private tours


“Sundowner,” a safari-inspired sunset dinner and Elverhøj's first major fundraiser, was a smashing success. It was presented on October 17 in conjunction with the Susan Jørgensen photography exhibit, “Out of Africa.” Everything about the evening — the balmy weather, the decorations, the atmosphere, the music and dancing, the food, the good company — was magical.
Guests, dressed in outfits that suggested African safaris, journeyed to Elverhøj via jeep transport (thanks to Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours). The museum and grounds had been transformed. Flickering fire torches lined the main walkway; models of African animals lurked in the shrubbery. As they entered, guests were greeted by the beat of drums in the Main Room which was decorated with masks, fabrics and sculptures. The gallery walls were hung with striking photographs from Jørgensen's recent African safaris.
In the gallery guests were offered delectable hors doeuvres — Chachanga, Akara, LM prawns — along with wine or original Sundowner cocktails. The museum's back patio and garden had been changed into a tented al fresco dining room and theater venue. Rows of lights twinkled overhead, candles gleamed on brightly patterned African tablecloths. Centerpieces were planters with lush succulents.
As the sun set, guests were served with a gourmet four-course menu filled with exotic, elegantly prepared African-themed dishes. First came mouth-watering sweet potatoes, plantain, green and heirloom tomatoes. The second course was delicious fish wrapped in banana leaf. This was followed by polenta and a superb dish of plantains with beef. Dessert was luscious fruit salad accompanied by cornmeal cookies, coffee or tea.
A highlight of the nights festivities was a special auction. Imaginative prizes were auctioned by Elverhøj board member Chris Nielsen. These included a safari to a private vineyard and winery plus a double magnum of wine; a tide pool safari along the Gaviota Coast; a safari to the stars; and a special party for 25 guests at Elverhøj. Guests were generous in the bids, because all the proceeds, they knew, went to the museum.
Guests were also treated to the intricate rhythms of African drums by the music group Dancing Drums. Athletic dancers entertained with gravity-defying African dance steps. Later, guests got up to dance themselves and made their own melodies by banging skins, shaking tambourines, and twisting maracas. They even tried their hand as percussionists, as they experimented with the drums. The museum hummed and echoed to the rhythmic beat! Everyone was having fun, as Elverhøj wrapped up a major social and fundraising success.

Rancho Zorra
Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours

Patron Table Hosts
Katie Dabney
Ken & Carol Johnson

Alice Gillaroo
Erik Gregersen
Tracy Ibara
Ken Johnson
Susan Jørgensen
Glenda Madrid
ElseMarie Petersen
Amee Visonhaler
Barbara Weber
Esther Jacobsen Bates

Richard & Esther Bird
Ginny Brush & Mari Bartoli
Erik & Sandy Gregersen
Shirley Heap
Roger & Priscilla Higgins
Elizabeth Jensen
Arlen (Bo) & Barbara Pedersen 
Robert Provin
Edel Schonfeldt
Jack & Judy Staplemann
Dwight & Claire Watts
Ann E. Young

Classic Party Rentals
Graphic Systems
J. Woeste in Los Olivos
Lion's Peak Vineyard
New West Catering,
   Jeff & Janet Olsson
Pam Pilcher
Renae's Bouquet


The Passport program offers a wonderful opportunity for students in kindergarten through 6th grade by providing free admission for them, along with one accompanying adult, to over 30 different cultural, historic, recreation, and scientific institutions in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. Included along with Elverhøj are the Santa Barbara Zoo, UCSB Marine Institute, the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens and others. All are members of the Santa Barbara Educators Roundtable.

The program runs through April 30. Students who visit 8 organizations can earn a free T-shirt. For more information or to download a copy of the Passport and participating institutions, visit www.sbert.org.

Docents are an integral part of the museum and we depend on their generous donation of time and effort to keep our doors open to the public. They are the welcoming faces and informed voices representing the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art and serve as advocates within the community. 
We invite you to join our enthusiastic group of docents. All you need is an interest in and appreciation of Solvang's history, Danish cultural heritage and/or art. We ask that you be ready to commit to one or two shifts per month; each shift is three to four hours. In return, you will meet a great group of volunteers and visitors, learn about your community, and have the opportunity to participate in a variety of special outings and events at area institutions.
Please stop by and see our docents in action or call (805) 686-1211 for more information.

Our wonderful docents for 2010:
  • Cherie Alstott
  • Liz Bland
  • Sonja Cartwright
  • Jill Clevenger
  • Kimberly Davis
  • Joy Deming
  • Beatriz Djernaes
  • Clara Ehrsam
  • Eva Etzel
  • Sandy Gregersen
  • Elisabeth Jacobsen
  • Inge Jacobsen
  • Marie Jaeger
  • Elizabeth Jensen
  • Carol Johnson
  • Kristen Johnson
  • Marilyn Johnson
  • Alma Lancaster
  • Agnes Larsen
  • Else Lassiter
  • Maggie LePley
  • Mary Mathiasen
  • Kate Nielsen
  • Barbara Pedersen
  • Ruth Plambeck
  • Jean Roed
  • Olive Saunders
  • Edel Schonfeldt
  • Beverly Smith
  • Lois Vind
  • Amee Visonhaler
  • Isabella Visonhaler
  • Barbara Weber
  • Charlene Whitfield
  • Wee Woodward


The annual Members and Friends Christmas Party was held on Sunday evening, December 6. The museum glowed with lights and laughter as more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the holiday in traditional Danish style. Live music and the Danish Christmas tradition of dancing around the tree were the highlight of the evening's festivities. Else Statum and family led an enthusiastic group that circled the 12-foot tree hand-in-hand singing traditional Danish and American Christmas songs.
The event included and abundance of good cheer and Danish specialty foods such as open-face sandwiches, homemade Christmas cookies and chocolates.  More than 800 open-faced sandwiches were made and served by volunteers. Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped by to greet guests, taking time to listen to Christmas wishes and hand out toys to the children.
A special thank you to Marie Jaeger and the 20 volunteers who created another wonderful event. “Tusind Tak” (1,000 thanks) to the event sponsors: Ingeborg's Homemade Chocolates, Nielsen's Market and Olsen's Danish Village Bakery. 
Elverhøj volunteers were honored at a festive holiday brunch on December 15. A group of 50 volunteers gathered at The Belgian Café for a decadent buffet. The tables were festively decorated with a gift of appreciation for each volunteer. Ken Johnson, president of the board of directors, welcomed the group. Honored for their service and involvement were docents, board members, committee chairpersons and volunteers.


The Elverhøj Museum depends on financial support from memberships, donations and gifts. A grant was recently received from The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation. The $10,000 gift will be used for benches, new office equipment and general operating support.


Esther Jacobsen BatesWhat an outstanding year it has been at Elverhøj Museum! We have welcomed a record number of visitors — a 15% increase over last year. As usual, we reach out to both children and adults. This year we developed special educational activities for family visitors, and continued our tours for school children. Creative classes for both young people and adults have proved very popular. (The children's drawing class with a live horse for a model was a huge hit!) In addition, community groups have discovered Elverhøj as the perfect place for tours and meetings, both formal and informal.
Some other highlight of 2009: The historical exhibits in the Solvang Room were updated and renovated. Videos of Solvang's priceless oral history were made into a fast-selling DVD. We presented a variety of invigorating art shows in various media and styles, from collage and assemblage to Out of Africa photography. Each show was accompanied by auxiliary events like educational lectures, special classes, demonstrations, or story-telling. Then there was our first major fundraiser, the wonderfully successful African-themed Sundowner dinner, as well as widely popular traditional events like Valley Wines & Valentines and the Christmas Party.
Careful budgeting and oversight has allowed us to continue maintaining and improving the facilities (started when we assumed ownership in 2007). The front entry walkway and the stairs to the office areas were restored and made more accessible. Some interior areas received a fresh coat of paint; more remains to be done.  Plans for improvements in the back garden are in the works too.
The key elements of our success are volunteers and members. The energized group of more than 70 volunteers regularly contributes time and expertise to all Museum operations. Committee members help with education, finances, facility maintenance, fundraising, special events, art exhibits, history, the Museum Store, and more. Friendly docents share their knowledge of Solvang's rich history and culture. I can not thank all these people enough for their valuable contributions!
Membership dues provide the basis for our annual operating income and are the financial backbone for all programs and services. Each membership makes a difference — especially in challenging economic times. Elverhøj's sustainability and security has been enhanced by generous contributions to our endowment fund. 
For 2010 we are planning a wide array of programming, exhibits and events. Preparations for the Solvang Centennial, a year-long celebration in 2011, are ongoing. Look for much more news about these in the coming months.
I am extremely grateful to you, our members and supporters, for the inspiration, dedication and vision you provide. I extend my sincere gratitude and look forward to seeing you at Elverhøj. Happy New Year!

Esther Jacobsen Bates


Solvang CentennialThe Solvang Centennial Committee has been organized to honor and promote the 100 years of Solvang’s existence as a community that blends Danish culture and heritage into a quality of life and visitor experience through a yearlong series of events for the enrichment of past and current residents and visitors.
The logo (right) was selected from a field of more than 150 submissions from around the world. It will be featured prominently in all print advertising, media, merchandizing and more during the yearlong historical celebration.
The Centennial Committee selected the original work of Michele Jane, a native of Santa Barbara and 20-year artist, painter, and free-lance graphic designer, and awarded her the $1,000 prize for the original logo depicted here. According to Jane, This logo incorporates the festive ribbon that spans from Denmark to America over the 100 years, the incredible beauty of the mountains, vineyards, oaks and sunny fields as well as the Danish culture with the windmill. The style is current but refers to the clean lines of Danish design.
More Centennial information can be found at a new website dedicated to the yearlong celebration, www.Solvang100.com. Event calendars will be updated and expanded as activities are finalized.  The website also has a blog with individual Solvang stories and you are invited to participate. If you have resided in, been inspired by, visited, and otherwise been impacted by Solvang, your comments are welcome. The process is all very quick and easy!
Elverhøj has a leadership role in the Centennial planning and celebrations. Look for more information in the media and in upcoming editions of the Elverhøj newsletter.


The City of Solvang celebrated its official, federally recognized “Preserve America Community” designation from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at a reception and ceremony at Elverhøj in March. The event was sponsored by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) and attended by more than 60 dignitaries and Preserve Solvang Visionary Leaders.

Preserve America is a federal initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.

Almost two years ago, the SCVB began the process to become a “Preserve America Community.” On September 22, 2008, Solvang City Council passed Resolution No. 08-811, authorizing the Mayor and SCVB to execute the lengthy Preserve America application. The Elverhøj Museum joined with the SCVB to collaborate on the application.

On October 7, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama sent the official letter of designation to Mayor Jim Richardson and the citizens of Solvang acknowledging the honor. In March 2010, the official road sign arrived (now installed on the city limits near 1230 Mission Drive/Hwy 246), along with the official designation plaque unveiled at the reception.

Solvang is one of only 30 communities in California and 814 communities in the USA to have received this honor since the program’s inception in 2003. There are many benefits of designation including eligibility to apply for Preserve America grants, obtain Preserve America Community signage, listing in a Web-based Preserve America Community directory, and being featured in National Register Travel Itineraries and in “Teaching with Historic Places” curricular material created by the National Park Service.

Preserve America

More than 60 dignitaries and Preserve Solvang Visionary Leaders celebrated the unveiling of Solvang’s Preserve America Community designation plaque at a reception at Elverhøj. Pictured (left to right) are: Solvang City Manager Brad Vidro, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Executive Director Dr. Jarrell Jackman, Elverhøj Museum Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates, Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson (holding plaque), Chairman of Solvang Centennial Committee and Solvang City Councilmember Ed Skytt, CA Travel & Tourism representative Jean Johnstone, California State Parks & Recreation Channel Islands District Superintendent Richard Rozzelle, and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tracy Farhad.

For more information about Preserve America see www.preserveamerica.gov and its official description of Solvang.


When a volcano in Iceland erupted again with a roar on April 14, the planned visit to Solvang by the Danish Ambassador had to be scuttled. In early February, Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates had written to Mr. Friis Arne Petersen, Danish Ambassador to the United States, inviting him to visit Solvang to see firsthand all that the city and environs had to offer.
When the Ambassador said yes, preparations were immediately started to make his visit memorable. There was to be a cowboy breakfast, a tour of Elverhøj, and a walking tour of downtown Solvang. Then would come lunch al fresco at a Solvang vineyard, followed by a driving tour of the Santa Ynez Valley. Late in the afternoon the Ambassador would meet with the local press at Elverhøj and then attend a small, private reception at the Museum. Dinner at a local restaurant would conclude the festivities. Before flying out the next morning, the Ambassador would stop for some delicious rundstykker at a local bakery.
Unfortunately, when Eyjafjallajökull spewed its enormous mushroom cloud of ash into the air and European airports were shut down, Ambassador Petersen was in Copenhagen on business. He had no way of flying back to the United States in time to keep his date in Solvang. Esther Jacobsen Bates held out hopes that a Danish ambassadorial visit could re-scheduled, but it wont be by Ambassador Petersen. He will be leaving Washington D.C. in June to take up his new diplomatic post as Denmark’s ambassador to China.

Danes are known for their handmade Christmas crafts — and so is Elverhøj! A group of volunteers fashion special items for display and sale in the Museum Store. We invite you to join in the fun while keeping the tradition of Old World crafts alive. The group, which meets the first Wednesday of the month, is led by docents and is open to all.
Craft Committee at workDedicated volunteers have been gathering for years, providing our visitors with a little piece of Danish heritage to take home. This May they met in the Museum Gallery, where a blend of history and ample natural light makes for a perfect meeting place. (Pictured are Maggie LePley, Tara Wood, Sonja Cartwright and Shirley Heap.)
Part of Elverhøj’s mission is to preserve Danish culture and promote the arts. The Craft Committee does this by providing crafting lessons and high-quality materials to work with, some of which come from Scandinavia. Handmade items may include “Jule Nisser” (traditional Danish Christmas elves), paper stars, woven hearts, needlepoint cones, tiny crocheted scarves, and more. 
It is with great pride that Elverhøj offers you the opportunity to participate in learning Danish crafts, preserving a little history, and enjoying a morning with friends and fellow crafters here at the Museum.
The Craft Committee meets the first Wednesday of the month, between 10 am and noon, in the Museum Gallery. Registration is encouraged, but drop-ins are welcome. If youd like to register, you can do so via email to info@elverhoj.org or by phone at (805) 686-1211. There is no charge to participate. 

Elverhøj Museum was the home designed and built by artists Viggo and Martha Mott “Patt” Brandt-Erichsen in the 1950s and then gifted as a museum in the 1980s. Elverhøj is pleased to offer these newly available books on the Brandt-Erichsen family.

The Four-Leafed Clover The Four-Leafed Clover
A Biography of Viggo Brandt-Erichsen (1896-1955)
181 pages, 31 illustrations.

In 1962, Viggo’s wife Patt produced a draft manuscript about Viggo, which also included an autobiography of herself. Their son David has recently edited, illustrated, and published this manuscript, generously granting the copyright to Elverhøj. It is available for purchase or free download.

Thor Brandt-Erichsen biography Viggo Thor Brandt-Erichsen, 1939-2008
160 pages, 79 photographs.

Viggo’s son Thor, an artist in his own right, spent most of his adult life in Alaska, where he combined a career in printing with painting and Alaskan adventures. This biography of Thor has been written by his son Scott and is available for purchase or free download in PDF format.

Unconventional Wisdom Unconventional Wisdom — A Memoir
By Jean Nandi (formerly Jean Brandt-Erichsen)
229 pages

This courageous and insightful autobiography by Jean Nandi (musician, zoologist, disability rights activist, and Patt Brandt-Erichsen’s daughter) is available as a free download (also available are three music books by Jean). More information.


Elverhøj was greatly honored to be one of ten recipients of an annual Montecito Bank & Trust Anniversary Grant. Bank employees nominated and voted for various non-profit organizations. The top ten each received a $3,500 grant — up from the customary $1,500 amount — in honor of the bank’s 35th anniversary.
The grants were presented at a March 17 reception at the bank’s main branch in Santa Barbara. Chairman of the Board Michael Towbes said, “This is the eighteenth year we have made these Anniversary Grants, and I am particularly pleased that the recipient organizations are chosen by a vote of all the bank’s employees. This gives them a personal stake in the decision, and I believe it encourages all of our staff to learn more about the nonprofit organizations which are so important to this community.”
A short video presentation about each organization was screened during the Anniversary Grants reception. Cox Communications in Goleta donated time and resources to create a custom video featuring Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates explaining Elverhøj’s mission.
Early in 2011 Montecito Bank will spotlight Elverhøj in various ways: on lobby posters, in bank website announcements, etc. Both the generous grant and the publicity will be very valuable to Elverhøj.


Kristen Farnum in AfghanistanA group of community members, friends and family gathered at Elverhøj to learn about Kristen Farnum’s recent work in Afghanistan. A slide show illustrated the talk describing her nine months with a team based in the northeastern region, not far from the capital of Kabul. Kristen now lives in Washington D.C., but she is a graduate of local schools, the University of Oregon, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
“The position I trained for was that of a social scientist,” Kristen explained. In August of 2008, she began several months of intensive training with the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS) program at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The core mission of Human Terrain Teams is to help the U.S. military at the brigade and division levels understand the Iraqi and Afghani populations they work with on a range of non-lethal activities. The phrase “non-lethal,” she explained, encompasses everything from hosting local leaders for discussions about neighborhood watch programs to researching and recommending appropriate ways for military units to work with local partners on development projects.
“The majority of our collaborative efforts were geared toward figuring out how local farmers and their families could maintain their way of life whilst improving their relationship with the Afghan government from the sub-district to national levels,” Farnum stated. “The Afghan men and women with whom I had the pleasure of developing relationships had concerns particular to their area and current predicament. The lives of those living in the communities outside the Army base were at once simple and awfully complex, with thirty years of war and social conflict weighting their every decision.”
“My experiences in Afghanistan, as in other foreign countries I have had the opportunity to work in, compelled comparison with my hometown of the Santa Ynez Valley,” Kristen said.  “As disparate as the average income in the apple-farming valleys of Afghanistan is in relation to the average Valley resident, core issues bore a surprising resemblance, with water and land disputes paramount to the local political arena.”


Docent Welcome Party coming in June

Thirty-four volunteer docents assist 13,500 visitors annually! Docents are the Museum’s welcoming face and informed voice.  We invite you to join this enthusiastic group of volunteers. All you need is an appreciation of history, Danish culture and/or art and people. You dont need to know Solvang’s history before volunteering. We have handbooks, videos, and an array of exhibits that will teach you all that you want to know. You will have the support of an experienced team of docents as well as staff to help you.
Our doors stay open because of the dedication and reliability of our docents. Most docents come to the Museum two or three days a month, volunteering for shifts from two to four hours. Some of our docents especially enjoy teaming up with a friend. Many also volunteer at artist receptions, school tours, and other special events. As you can see from the numbers above (13,350 visitors annually but only 34 docents) we need more docents!
As a member of the Elverhøj team, you will contribute your talents and energies to improve the Museum’s services. In return, you will meet a great group of volunteers and visitors, learn about your community, and have the opportunity to participate in a variety of special outings and events at area institutions. Perhaps best of all is the wonderful feeling of belonging to a group that benefits the entire community.
If you’d like to become a docent, or volunteer in some other capacity, please contact us at (805) 686-1211 or send an email to info@elverhoj.org.  We look forward to welcoming you to our team!


Danish Press visits SolvangA group of Danish journalists spent five winter days in Solvang on an extensive familiarization visit. Their first stop was a tour of Elverhøj. During their Solvang visit they were treated to meals, special visits, and tours. The journalists had interviews with area Danes, including vintner Peter Work of Ampelos Vineyards, pictured demonstrating pruning techniques for the journalists. As a result of the visit, several feature articles have already appeared in prominent Danish publications such as Politiken and Belingske Tidende and more will be published later this year and in 2011.


We are pleased to welcome summer intern Jessica Schley. A Santa Ynez native, she is returning to the area to work at Elverhøj for the summer. She will be assisting with archival research, collections management, and museum operations.
A spring 2010 graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a BA in American Studies, Jessica plans to focus her career on conservation issues. She is an avid horse person, and looks forward to summer on the family ranch in Happy Canyon where she grew up with her horses, Opy, Opera and Wisdom. 
This fall Jessica departs for France to spend five months continuing her research into worldwide conservation policies. She will stay in Paris and also plans to visit friends and family in Germany, Norway, Spain and England.


Esther Jacobsen BatesAs I sit at my desk and look out the windows of my office, I see the Elverhøj gardens, lush and full of color after the abundant spring rains. The longer days bring an increase in the number of visitors coming to the Museum. Many come to learn about Solvang’s history and Danish roots; others come to see what’s new in the art gallery. While the motivation behind a trip to Elverhøj can vary widely, the common ingredient is the desire to learn something new.
Many visitors come to Elverhøj in search of knowledge about the cross-cultural ties that bind Solvang and Denmark. As Solvang nears its 2011 Centennial, we are experiencing a phenomenal surge in requests for historical and cultural information. We are working on new and creative ways to share information through displays, events, and commemorative projects. Exciting collaborations for 2011 are in the planning stages and will bolster the footprint of Elverhøj on both a regional and international level.
The Royal Danish Embassy in Washington D.C. has been a valuable source of cultural information and contacts. In 2005, Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen invited me to join the Cultural Frontrunners, a network of people dedicated to promoting Danish culture in the U.S. Over the years, the Frontrunners have launched a great number of Danish events across the country — Danish film festivals, design and graphic art exhibitions, happenings and tributes to Danish heritage in the United States. Examples of Frontrunner activities at Elverhøj have included art gallery exhibitions, traveling displays, and more.

Collaborations are key to successful operations at Elverhøj. We work with area Museums and non-profits to maximize our impact with minimal staff. We depend on a dedicated team of volunteers. They have a huge impact and assist with all museum operations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that U.S. museums benefit from an astounding 1 million volunteer hours each week.  I invite you to become part of this American phenomenon. As a member of the Elverhøj team, you will contribute your talents and energies to improve the Museum’s services, meet new people, and have fun in the process.
I invite you to visit Elverhøj: Pause and take in a new art exhibition. Read about the automobile coming to Solvang. Bring your child or grandchild to the “Dive Into Summer” art workshop.  Make a craft. Summer is a great time to visit and discover something new!

Esther Jacobsen Bates


Elverhoj 2011 Calendar

As Solvang’s Centennial approaches, the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is proud to offer a special 2011 wall calendar. Its theme is celebrating Solvang’s past with historic photographs and descriptive text. A brief introductory narrative sums up the 100-year story of Solvang. More than 60 old black and white photos, beautifully restored, are reproduced throughout the calendar. 
Each month highlights a particular aspect of Solvang’s unique history and culture, and short notes on specific dates describe what was happening then in Solvang.
The Centennial Calendar is printed on fine paper and generously sized — 28 pages, each 9 x 12 inches. It can be purchased for $15 at the Elverhøj Museum Store. Special orders are welcomed: email or phone (805) 686-1211.

NOVEMBER 12 & 13

The popular Queen of Arts Show and Sale takes over the museums gallery and garden for two special days, November 12 and 13. The twelfth annual event begins with a lively opening reception and sale on Friday November 12 from 4 to 7 pm. Guests can enjoy wine and appetizers while shopping.

Featuring 37 artists and crafts people, the show and sale continues Saturday November 13 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is no charge for admission on either day.

We are pleased to have Cupcakes for Cancer here on both days to satisfy your sweet-tooth and support another good cause.

From unique folk crafts to fine art, there is a great variety of imaginative arts and a wide range of prices. Glass work, tiles, collage, mixed media work, and paintings will be available. Jewelry artists use vintage and contemporary beads, resin, feathers, semi-precious stones, crystal and more in their beautiful creations.  Pit-fired, hand-built, or thrown pottery work will be for sale, as well as original garden art handcrafted from steel, stone and wood. Some of the garden art include live plants.

Fiber artists offer striking fashion and home decor accessories. Incorporating hand-painted fabric, hand spun fibers, and/or felted fabric, these pieces are a delight to the eye and touch.

The holidays are coming. Find unique presents for others and treats for yourself at the Queen of Arts Show and Sale.

For more information, phone the Museum at (805) 686-1211.

Paintings by Dorothy Churchill-Johnson


Opening November 20 in the Museum Gallery is “The Beauty of Ordinary Things” showcasing Dorothy Churchill-Johnson’s oil paintings. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, November 27, from 3 to 5 pm.

Churchill-Johnson’s works are done on spacious canvasses depicting natural objects — sticks, stones, foliage — but with a difference. Objects are isolated, exaggerated, set in an otherworldly landscape. As the artist explains, her paintings “evoke an alternative world, composed of imaginary elements and odd juxtapositions, and a sense of being an isolated consciousness in a beautiful, uninhabited universe.”

The Beauty of Ordinary Things

After receiving an art degree from the University of Massachusetts, Churchill-Johnson did graphic design for a subsidiary of Xerox. She pursued her fine art on weekends and nights. In 1976, she moved to Santa Barbara and established herself as an award-winning artist. Churchill-Johnson exhibits widely, primarily in the west, but also in Texas, Massachusetts, New York, and abroad. In 2006, she had a very successful exhibit in Ekaterinburg, Russia, the first Western artist to have done so. Her paintings were projected onto two huge digital screens on either side of town and received many accolades.

The paintings of Churchill-Johnson can be found in many collections, including the Gallery of  Modern Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia; Las Ventanas el Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico; Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA; and Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, among others.
The exhibit in the Museum Gallery runs through January 2, 2011.

Party December 5

The Elverhøj Museum of History and Art celebrates the Christmas season with a month of special activities. A glowing 12 foot tree decorated with handmade Danish Christmas ornaments is the focal point. Activities include demonstrations of Danish Christmas crafts, bobbin lace making, and more.
Preparations are underway for the annual Members and Friends Christmas Party on Sunday evening December 5. Highlight of the evening is the Danish Christmas tradition of dancing around the tree.  The Statom family will lead the singing and dancing. Santa and Mrs. Claus have promised to stop by early with treats for the kids. The festivities will be complimented with Danish open-face sandwiches, homemade Danish Christmas cookies and chocolates, and Christmas cheer.
Admission to the Christmas party is $5 for members and $15 for non-members. There is no charge for children eight and under.


Kira AndersenKira W. Andersen, a student at Copenhagen Business College, is in Solvang to complete a three week internship at Elverhøj. She will be working full time at the Museum, assisting with operations, special events and translating.
“I read an article in a Danish newspaper about Solvang where the Museum’s director was quoted,” said Kira. “It sounded exactly like something in my line of interest. I find it very flattering that so many Americans with Danish ancestry take such a pride in their roots.”
Kira’s studies focus on marketing, foreign languages, economy and history. The 19-year-old lives in Fredensborg, 25 miles north of Copenhagen. She plans to continue on to university at Copenhagen Business School in pursuit of her Masters Degree in English and Communication.


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art was ground zero for an international meet and greet.

On July 11, Danish Ambassador to the United States Friis Arne Petersen arrived for a whirlwind 25-hour visit to the Danish capital of America. Petersen spent the day touring the city, visiting with business owners, and sampling local cuisine. Afterward, the Ambassador and his wife Birgitte Wilhelmsen were welcomed with a reception at Elverhøj Museum, where he mingled with more than 170 area Danes and dignitaries. He also gave a speech about Danish-U.S. relations and his visit to Solvang.

Petersen was in Solvang for his first visit at the invitation of Esther Jacobsen Bates, Executive Director of the Elverhoøj Museum.  “Ambassador Petersen and the staff at the Danish Embassy are a vital link in the cultural exchange between Solvang and Denmark,” said Bates. “I am so pleased that he was able to reschedule his trip to Solvang.”

Petersen had originally been scheduled for a three-day tour of Solvang in April, but a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded flights across Europe where he had traveled for business.

When the ambassador addressed the crowd, he spoke about the strengthening bonds between the United States and Denmark. “Solvang is the most Danish place I’ve seen in the USA. How can you be so Danish, yet so American? Denmark has never had a better or stronger relationship with the United States than we do today.”

The ambassador complimented Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley on its creative blending of agriculture, tourism and business. He spoke about the structural changes in Denmark that have moved many away from agricultural production and said he admired the Santa Ynez Valley’s ability to integrate agriculture into its lifestyle. “All in all a very creative way of making a living,” he said.

“Everything I’ve seen shows that Solvang is really alive,” Petersen said. He pointed out that cooperation between Solvang and Denmark would not just be visits from dignitaries. The ambassador spoke of the importance of both cultural and economic joint ventures as part of Solvang’s 2011 centennial celebration.

“Sometimes we keep the best to the end,” said Petersen, who begins his posting as the Danish Ambassador to China in September.

After his speech, the ambassador did a lot of handshaking and got to know the people of the Valley. He attended a private dinner in his honor and enjoyed a breakfast at a Solvang bakery before flying back to his residence at the Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C.


Esther Jacobsen BatesExcitement is growing as the 2011 Solvang Centennial draws closer. Festivities marking the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding kick off in early January. The Centennial Committee has been preparing for more than a year, planning activities and events for locals and visitors alike.
At Elverhøj, preparations to mark this milestone began more than three years ago. Exhibits about Solvang history have been renovated and upgraded. Many historical photos have been added to the Museum’s collection, digitized, and undergone meticulous restoration. Scholars, staff, and volunteers have spent hundreds of hours researching and documenting Solvang’s history. 2011 is our time to share these riches with all.

Over the next few months, the media will be spotlighting the unique history of Solvang. Reporters from Denmark and around the United States have requested information and old photos that tell Solvang’s story. The volume of requests and the scope of interest have been remarkable. 
During 2011, exhibits in the Museum Gallery will focus on Solvang’s history and/or Danish culture. The inaugural centennial exhibit — The Spirit of Solvang: Celebrating the Past in Photographs — opens on January 9. I invite you come and see how the small, rural town of Solvang grew into the Danish-style village of today. Accompanying the exhibit will be a 56-page exhibit catalog that includes many of the old black and white photographs on display.
Elverhøj will also present a special series of Centennial activities and events, many focused on our Danish roots. The cultural exchange between Denmark and Solvang remains strong, with special support from the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C.
Esther and Prince FrederikThis summer I had the privilege of attending the 50th Anniversary of the building of the Danish Embassy. (Before this, Embassies in the capitol had been housed in old mansions.) His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark addressed the gathering of 250 people. He told me afterwards about his under-the-radar visit to Solvang in the 1990s and introduced his charming Australian-born wife, Crown Princess Mary. Although it is unlikely they will be here for any of the Centennial activities — the Crown Princess is expecting twins this winter — there will be visits from other Danish dignitaries, including officials from Solvang’s sister city of Aalborg.

I invite you to visit Elverhøj. Pick up the new 2011 Centennial Calendar for yourself or gift giving. Bring your family and friends to learn about the community.  Enjoy our Christmas tree decorated with hundreds of handmade Danish ornaments. The cool, shorter days are a great time to visit us and discover something new!

Esther Jacobsen Bates

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