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2011 News Archive
News Archive


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 now be purchased for the reduced price of $10 at the Elverhøj Museum Store. Special orders are welcomed: email or phone (805) 686-1211.


Spirit of SolvangElverhøj has just published a new book, Spirit of Solvang, drawing on photos and historical information from its archives. Like the exhibit of the same name, the 56-page book is replete with engaging black and white images of Solvang. These carefully restored images document Solvang’s story from its founding to its transition to a Danish-themed downtown. Informative text gives readers an overall view of Solvang’s development, as well as fascinating tidbits of local history.  Both the exhibit and the book celebrate Solvang’s Centennial by paying tribute to the rich cultural history and heritage of its Danish pioneers.

Elverhøj is very grateful to Paul Roark, who expertly and lovingly restored the photographs; to Joan Mitchell, who wrote and edited text; to Ann Dittmer, who tirelessly did research and checked facts; and to the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and Nancy Brandt-Erichsen for granting funds for printing and design expenses. Thanks are also due to Museum volunteers, especially the History Committee and Photo ID Committee (a.k.a. the “White Glove Gang”). Over the years they have expanded the Museum collection by organizing, identifying, and conserving numerous images.

The book is available for purchase in the Museum Store for $17.50. Special orders are welcomed. Please phone (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org.

JANUARY 9 - APRIL 10, 2011

On display in the Museum Gallery is the inaugural art exhibit for Solvang’s Centennial year. The Spirit of Solvang: Capturing the Past in Photographs tells the story of Solvang through a series of striking black and white images from the Museum’s collection.
Accompanying the exhibit is a 56-page book, Spirit of Solvang. Like the exhibit of the same name, the book is rich with black and white images of Solvang and informative text. Both the exhibit and publication pay tribute to the rich cultural history and heritage of Solvang’s Danish pioneers. The book is for sale in the Museum Store for $17.50. Special orders are welcomed.

Spirit of Solvang
Many Danes settled in rural areas across the United States and often banded together in colonies for mutual support. Founded in 1911, Solvang was such a colony. The exhibition marks the city’s Centennial by displaying photographs from the Museum’s extensive historic collection. Meticulously restored, enlarged, and printed, the images document Solvang’s story from its founding to its transformation to a Danish-themed downtown. But the town is more than a collection of buildings. The exhibit also tells about the early settlers, the pioneers with a vision, who worked so hard to achieve the American Dream while honoring their Danish heritage.
Photo restoration work was done by Solvang resident Paul Roark. He has spent years working on Elverhøj’s collection of historic photographs, including all the images in the Spirit of Solvang exhibition. Mr. Roark is a professional fine art black and white photographer (as well as a retired antitrust attorney) with special expertise in digitally restoring and printing old photographs. In addition, he is considered one of the pioneers of digital printing and has designed widely-used lightfast black and white inksets.
The exhibit, which is on display through April 10, is made possible by a grant from The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and support from M.I.S. Associates and Samy’s Camera.


The Palace in Denmark has announced that His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark will visit Solvang on June 11, 2011. He will help celebrate the city’s Centennial as well as re-affirm the historic, cultural, and business ties between Denmark and the “Danish Capital of America.”
Accompanying him will be Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States, and Torsten Jansen, Minister Counselor and Head of Public Diplomacy at the Royal Danish Embassy.
Residents and visitors alike are eager to welcome Prince Henrik to Solvang and to meet the Danish dignitaries. “We are honored to have the Prince Consort come to Solvang,” says Esther Jacobsen Bates, Executive Director of the Elverhøj Museum. “His visit will be a highlight of the Centennial Year. We also have the pleasure of hosting His Royal Highness on his June 11 birthday. We want to celebrate both occasions in grand style!” Specific events being held during the Royal visit will be announced within the coming weeks.
The visit is the culmination of years of dedicated efforts between the Royal Danish Embassy and Ms. Bates. Local arrangements are being coordinated by the all-volunteer Solvang Centennial Committee, the City of Solvang, Elverhøj Museum and the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau. Ed Skytt, chairman of the Centennial Committee, calls the Royal visit “an honor to the City of Solvang and to all Danes and Danish-Americans, many of whom have contributed greatly to the United States and to international goodwill.”
Past royal visits have been marked by community celebration and enthusiasm.  In 1939 Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid (later King Frederik IX of Denmark and Queen Ingrid, 1947-1972) came to Solvang. They attended a Good Friday service at Bethania Church, visited Atterdag College, and were honored at a reception at the Veterans Memorial Building (in photo below).

Frederik and Ingrid

Young Princess Margrethe visited Solvang in 1960 (photo below). She attended a reception at Palacio del Rio, had lunch at Bethania Church, and later toured downtown Solvang. In 1976, she returned as Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, accompanied by her husband HRH Prince Consort Henrik.

Princess Margrethe visits Solvang, 1960

HRH the Prince Consort was born Henri Marie Jean André Count de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 in Talence, Gironde, France. On June 10, 1967, he married the Heir Apparent to the Danish throne, Princess Margrethe. The couple have two children: HRH Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian, born May 26, 1968, and HRH Prince Joachim Holger Waldemar Christian, born June 7, 1969. There are numerous grandchildren.

The Prince Consort studied law and political science at the Sorbonne, Paris, and Chinese and Vietnamese at École Nationale des Langues Orientales, with further language study in Hong Kong and Saigon. He has had a background in the French diplomatic service and holds the honorary rank of General and Admiral in the Danish Defense. He is interested in viticulture and operates the wine estate Chêteau de Caïx, Cahors, France.

Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and His Royal Highness the Prince Consort will visit Washington and New York June 6 through June 10. Prince Henrik will continue on his own to Solvang, and then visit Stanford University and the Danish Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

For more information on the Royal visit to Solvang and other Centennial events, see www.Solvang100.com and www.SolvangUSA.com.



This damaged photo of “Rock” Sorensen dates back to 1918. Want to learn how to restore clarity and beauty to old, damaged, or faded black and white photographs like this? Technology has made the process readily available to anyone with a computer.

Paul Roark, a professional fine art photographer, gave a talk about his digital approach to photo restoration on Sunday March 20 at Elverhøj. But if you missed the talk, he has written a summary of his procedures here.
Paul Roark has spent years working on Elverhøj’s collection of historic photographs, including all the images in Elverhøj’s “Spirit of Solvang” book, calendar, and exhibit. He is considered one of the pioneers of digital photography printing and has designed widely-used black and white ink sets. His original fine art landscape photographs can be viewed at Gallery Los Olivos and his website can be found at www.paulroark.com.


Elverhøj’s photographs come primarily from generous private donors. People have given one or two images and whole family albums, studio portraits and amateur Brownie snapshots, glass negatives and modern color photos.

Because we live in a digital age, precious and sometimes fragile photographs can now be quickly scanned and returned safely to their owners. Without such valuable donations, Elverhøj could not preserve the history of Solvang for others to enjoy and appreciate.

On Exhibit thru February 2012

SilverDanes have a long tradition of giving beautifully designed silver service pieces as gifts. These objects usually mark important occasions: weddings, anniversaries, birth of a baby, etc. They often become family heirlooms passed down through the generations.

A new exhibit in Elverhjøs Main Room elegantly showcases this long-held tradition. Community members have graciously loaned family heirlooms to be shared with our visitors for the remainder of the 2011 centennial year.

The art of Danish silversmithing goes back to the middle ages, but gained popularity during the industrial revolution. Legislation made it easy for silversmiths and goldsmiths to set up their own shops, and affluent upper and middle class Danes eagerly bought their work. Artisans created a distinctive Danish design style and received international recognition.

Contemporary Danish silversmiths continue the tradition of fine design, and Solvang residents carry on the tradition of silver gift-giving.

The silver pieces on display include large spoons for serving soup and tiny spoons for serving salt. The selection of candelabras varies from simply elegant to more formal and ornate. There are coffee and tea sets with delicate scalloped edges and cream and sugar service with elegant sleek lines. There is even a lady’s compact with a map of Denmark etched on the top. As is Danish tradition, many of the items are engraved with the name or initials of the recipient as well as the date the gift was given.

The exhibit was inspired and coordinated by Else Lassiter with the assistance of members of Solvang’s Danish Sisterhood Flora Danica Lodge.


Erik GregersonSome of the Santa Ynez Valley’s top volunteers are being honored by The Valley Foundation. Receiving an award as cultural volunteer of the year is Erik Gregersen.
Erik has deep roots in the community. His grandfather J.M. Gregersen was one of the three founders of Solvang. Over the years, Erik regularly visited Solvang and the family ranch, San Carlos de Jonata in Ballard Canyon. It wasn’t until his retirement, however, that he actually moved to Solvang. In 1998 Erik and his wife, Sandy, built a home on the ranch, connected with local non-profit organizations, and began their volunteer work in the Valley.
“I almost fell off my chair when I was told that I was to receive this award,” said Erik. “I feel very special to be a part of Solvang’s centennial festivities and continue the work my grandfather started.”
Since joining the Elverhøj Board of Directors in March of 2003, Erik has been an enthusiastic advocate for the Museum. Erik is currently president of the Board of Directors and serves on most Board committees: building and grounds (co-chair), executive (chairman), fundraising and planned giving (chairman), and finance. Previously, he served as treasurer.


Solvang School classPeople travel from across the country and even the world to visit Elverhøj. Closer to home, many school students come to Elverhøj to learn about their community. Pictured here are Solvang School students from Mrs. Bisbee’s second grade class during a recent visit to Elverhøj.
Education is always a priority at Elverhøj. We like the local schools to use the Museum to their benefit; we enjoy educating children and working with teachers. School and youth groups are given special tours and provided with fun and informative activities.
Museum exhibits include historical information and artifacts necessary to meet many different California Content Standards for various grades.  In years past, Elverhøj had teaching professionals carefully develop standards-based curricula for third and tenth grades. In addition, activities and handouts have been designed specifically for students and families.
Please call the Museum to set up a free, private tour for your class or group: 686-1211.


Lois Vind and Esther IsaacsonPublic elementary education in the Solvang area has a long history. In 1890 portions of the Ballard and Nojoqui School Districts were set aside to form the Ynez School district. A one-room school house was built in 1905 at the corner of present day Alisal Road and Mission Drive. When Danish settlers started arriving in 1911, the only buildings in what is now downtown Solvang were the Ynez School and Mission Santa Inés. As more and more Danish children enrolled in the little school house, it became too small. A substantial two-room building was built in 1915 at the same location, and the old school was moved to the back as a woodshed. In 1928 the name of the school district changed from Ynez to Solvang.

In January of 1940 the newly constructed Solvang Grammar School opened on Atterdag Road at Laurel Avenue. Over the years it has been greatly expanded and renovated. There are presently 589 students enrolled at the school, which has two campuses on Atterdag Road.

In the accompanying photo, Lois Vind (left) and Esther Ibsen Isaacson reminisce about their days together at Solvang’s grammar school. The photographs on display behind them show the newly built Ynez School in 1915 and a group of school students pictured in 1921. To their left is a desk that was used by the youngest students at the school. Mrs. Isaacson was a teacher at the school and Lois was one of her students.



The Solvang Centennial is a year-long series of events organized to honor and promote the 100 years of Solvang’s existence as a community and to blend the Danish culture and heritage for the enrichment of past and current residents and visitors.
Each month incorporates a different theme such as culinary (March), cultural arts (April), or living history (September). Ongoing events include the monthly Heritage Trail dedications and occasional talks and lectures.
A calendar of events with all the themes and many more events can be found at www.solvang100.com . The calendar is regularly updated and expanded as details for events and activities are finalized.


Final arrangements are being made for a special 10-day trip to Denmark in late September of 2011. The itinerary includes Copenhagen, a day trip to Sweden, Odense (home of Hans Christian Andersen), the famous medieval town of Ribe, overnight in a castle, and Aalborg, Solvang’s sister city. Transportation from Solvang to all points, hotels, tours, private receptions and some meals are included in the package. The trip is limited to 46 people. For more information and to reserve space, call Linda Johansen at (805) 686-1644.


More Centennial information can be found at the website dedicated to the yearlong celebration, www.Solvang100.com. 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.


Esther Jacobsen BatesExcitement’s in the Air!
Solvang’s Centennial Is Happening Now!
Its here! Long anticipated, the 2011 Solvang Centennial kicked off with a grand community party on January 7. More than 250 people gathered to launch the year-long celebration.
At Elverhøj, festivities began two days later with the opening of our special Centennial exhibition, Spirit of Solvang: Capturing the Past in Photographs. Setting the mood for the gala occasion, a parade of restored vintage automobiles lined the curb in front of the Museum. Inside, guests sipped wine and Danish Red Lager “øl” (beer) as they enthusiastically viewed the historic photos on display, lovingly restored, enlarged, and printed.
Not long after, on January 19, in another Centennial celebration, Elverhøj was officially designated as the first stop on the Solvang Heritage Trail.
I have been impressed by people’s enthusiasm for all things Centennial and their interest in Elverhøj. Sales have been very brisk for our brand-new Spirit of Solvang book and the 2011 Centennial Calendar. (If you have not yet bought copies for yourself and others, do so soon, before supplies run out!) Visitors have been streaming in to see our exhibit and ask questions. Media reps call me regularly, wanting historical information and images. (Have you checked out all the stories with photos in local newspapers and publications?)
Elverhøj’s Centennial activities will focus on Solvang’s history, traditions and heritage, as well as our Danish cultural connections. A variety of interesting events are in the pipeline. Danish dignitaries are planning to visit. A Royal visit too? Maybe. We definitely will be hosting 8th grade students from Solvang’s Sister City, Aalborg, in April and the Mayor of Aalborg is coming in the fall. Expect scholars and lecturers to make presentations, and look for some Danish-themed Gallery exhibits. I’m also working on Solvang Speaks, a series of informal get-togethers where Solvang residents talk about their memories and experiences in the Old Days.
I invite you to join in the festivities observing Solvang’s first 100 years. Let’s make it a celebration to remember!

Esther Jacobsen Bates


By the end of Solvang’s centennial year celebration, a specially designed heritage path will allow locals, tourists and schoolchildren to walk in the path of the city’s founding families. The Solvang Heritage Trail — expected to consist of about 24 spots — will include plaques laden with information about the Danish town’s history, culture, and more. At 2:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month this year, a new location and theme will be disclosed.

“The concept for the trail originated a few years ago at the Elverhøj Museum as planning began for the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding by Danish immigrants,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, executive director of the Museum.

“The self-guided walking tour — a kind of pedestrian loop around Solvang — will tie together the area’s history and cultural background,” Mrs. Bates said. “Institutions, locations, events and architecture will also be spotlighted,” she said. “We wanted to make the history of Solvang easily accessible and identifiable.”

Plans include physical and virtual mapping, a full-color brochure, multiple distribution locations, grade-school integration, site identifiers such as plaques, docent and visitor center staff training and more. This will be a joint effort between public and private entities and resources.

The Solvang Heritage Trail Project is coordinated by the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art and the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau. Dedication ceremonies will take place throughout the Village of Solvang on the Third Wednesday of each month at 2:30 p.m. during the Centennial year of 2011.

Photo: On behalf of the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art, Board President Erik Gregersen (grandson of Rev. J. M. Gregersen, one of Solvang’s founders) accepts the certificate of dedication for an official stop on the emerging Solvang Heritage Trail. The dedication of the Elverhøj Museum site was made by (left to right) Tracy Farhad, Executive Director, Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau; Jim Richardson, Mayor of Solvang; and Esther Jacobsen Bates, Executive Director, Elverhøj Museum of History & Art.
For more information, visit www.solvang100.com or phone the Museum at (805) 686-1211.

APRIL 17 - JULY 24, 2011

“Cultural Fusion,” featuring the works of artist Helle Scharling-Todd, opened April 17 in the Museum Gallery. The exhibit features stunning glass panels that are sandblasted or fused, contemporary mosaics, and stainless steel sculptures.
A reception for Scharling-Todd was held on Sunday April 17 from 3:00 to 5:00pm. This Danish-born artist is known for her public art in both Denmark and the United States. The pieces in the Museum Gallery, however, are the “private art” that Scharling-Todd works on between public projects.
Her color-rich art is created with emphasis on space, form, color, line, rhythm, and content. The artist explains the various types of art she will display at Elverhøj: “These sculptures consist of layers that I erode, which get a very organic look . . . that is both raw and refined. . . . I see a relationship to contemporary life, which seems to have these components.”
Mosaics fascinate Scharling-Todd because she “loves the colors and translucency of glass and the impressionistic pieces that together form a mosaic.” Her mosaics are both free-standing and wall-hung; inspiration for them ranges from human themes to images of the Earth seen from the air while flying.
Her tall, standing sandblasted pieces have, she says, “a delicate translucency that I like.” There are also a number of smaller hanging fused glass pieces, which have a common theme of the human body in motion in 3-D.
Growing up on the small island of Langeland, Denmark, Scharling-Todd attended Copenhagen University, then the Academy of Fine Art in Ravenna Italy for mosaics and the Krefeld School of Art and Architecture in Germany for glass work. She also studied the development of mural art in Mexico. She has a BA in art history and teaching from Aarhus, Denmark. Scharling-Todd now lives in Ventura, California. She has spoken at world symposiums on mosaics in Brazil, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, and Italy.

MOSAIC WORKSHOP with Helle Scharling-Todd
Thursday, July 14, 2-5 pm

The Elverhøj Museum of History and art is teaming up with mosaic artist Helle Scharling Todd to offer a Mosaic Workshop on Thursday July 14th from 2-5 pm. Ms. Scharling-Todd has numerous public installations of her work here on the Central Coast as well as in Denmark. Her incredible glass and mosaics are currently on exhibit at Elverhøj and you will be inspired as well as taught the techniques needed to create your own work of art.

The cost is $60 for the class and $25 for supplies. Backing boards as well as tile and other pieces for your mosaic will be provided; however, if you would like to bring any glass or pottery items to break and include in your work or even a pot, tray or mirror to use as the basis for your art, please do so. At 7:30 on the 14th Helle will be also be hosting an artist talk where you and your friends and family will have the opportunity to learn more about the artist and her work. To reserve a spot in the Mosaic Workshop, or for more information, phone the Elverhøj Museum at 686-1211.


His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Henrik of DenmarkHenrik, His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark will visit Solvang on Saturday, June 11, 2011, as part of the city’s ongoing Centennial celebrations. Residents and visitors alike are invited to welcome the Prince and his entourage during two public events.
HRH The Prince Consort will make his first public appearance at the Royal Birthday Party in Solvang Park (Mission Drive and First Street, downtown Solvang), from 5:15 to 6:15 pm. The ceremony formally welcomes HRH to the City of Solvang and pays tribute to his birthday on June 11, as well commemorates Solvang’s 100th birthday. After some brief remarks by HRH, special birthday cake will be served. Festive music for the occasion will be provided by the Valley Wind Ensemble. The event is free and open to the public. Limited seating available.
Accompanying HRH The Prince Consort will be Peter Taksøe-Jensen, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States; Christian Eugen-Olsen, Master of Ceremonies at the Danish Royal Palace; and Torsten Jansen, Minister Counselor Culture and Public Diplomacy at the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, DC.
In the evening, from 7:00-10:00pm, the Royal Dinner Celebration honors the distinguished Danish visitors at Rusack Vineyards, 1819 Ballard Canyon Road. (Rusack is located within the boundaries of the nearly 9,000 acres of land originally bought by the founders of Solvang in 1911.) The celebration starts with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. HRH The Prince Consort will greet each guest in a formal receiving line. Then comes a sumptuous gourmet feast, created by New West Catering. Guests will be served under a canopy amid the oak trees and grape vines. Business attire is suggested.
Tickets to the Royal Dinner Celebration are $100 each, and seating is strictly limited. Reserved tables for eight guests are available for $1,000. Tickets must be purchased by Noon on June 3, 2011. Make checks payable to the City of Solvang–Royal Dinner, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang, CA 93463 or by charge to a credit card by calling 805-688-5575. Tickets will be held at the door. Valet parking. All sales final. Rain or shine event.
These two public events honoring HRH The Prince Consort are presented by the Solvang Centennial Committee and the City of Solvang. According to Committee member Esther Jacobsen Bates, Executive Director of the Elverhøj Museum, “This is an historic event for Solvang, sure to be celebrated and remembered for generations to come. We invite everyone to join in the festivities!”
For more information on the Royal Visit to Solvang and other Centennial events, www.Solvang100.com and www.SolvangUSA.com


8-minute video providing highlights of royal visit:

The Prince Consort of DenmarkOn a sunny June afternoon, more than 600 people gathered in Solvang Park to give a royal welcome to Henrik, His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark.  He charmed the crowd as he came to commemorate the 2011 centennial of the Danish capital of America on the day of his own 77th birthday.

Led by a motorcycle escort, the royal motorcade drove Solvang streets lined with Danish and American flags before delivering The Prince Consort and a team of Danish diplomats and dignitaries to the park, the first stop of a whirlwind visit to Solvang.

Local officials offered their best wishes as The Prince Consort was escorted to his seat by Assemblyman Das Williams. City Manager Brad Vidro served as master of ceremonies for the Royal Birthday Celebration.

Mayor Jim Richardson presented The Prince Consort with a key to the City as a souvenir of his visit. “I will keep it close to my heart and not far from my desk in case I have the honor and joy to come again — even if I am not invited,” he joked, creating a burst of laughter from the crowd.

Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates spoke of Solvang’s founding in 1911 by Danish immigrants who came to begin a colony where Danes and Danish-Americans would “be able to realize the American dream while preserving the culture and traditions of Denmark.”

In a ten-minute speech, The Prince Consort noted that “the success of Solvang and the idea this town presents is emblematic of the great affinity that exists between the people of the United States and the people of Denmark.”

“In this marvelous, charming place called a bit of Denmark tucked into beautiful California, one can feel an air and an atmosphere of Scandinavia and a touch of Denmark,” The Prince Consort said. “That’s very important because this touch goes directly to the heart of the visitors.”

The gathering of dignitaries, townspeople, tourists, and children sang a festive rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the smiling prince. The Mayor and Ms. Bates presented him with a special cake made by baker Bent Olsen.

As the crowd cued up for cake, the Danish delegation walked Copenhagen Drive to Alisal Road escorted by the Mayor, Ms. Bates, Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau executive director Tracy Farhad, and other dignitaries.

The Prince Consort cut the ribbon officially opening the new Centennial Plaza, and two prominently placed bricks engraved with his name and monogram were unveiled.

As was requested by the Palace, the next stop was at Elverhøj Museum. After a tour, The Prince Consort presented Bates with a signed copy of his new autobiography for the Museum library and a signed photo in a monogrammed frame. The Danish dignitaries, along with their support and security team, joined Elverhøj board representatives for a birthday toast and sumptuous hors d’oeuvres prepared on site by Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn.

The Prince Consort at Elverhoj

While the special guests enjoyed their pre-dinner party at Elverhøj, more than 180 people were arriving for the Royal Dinner Celebration at Rusack Vineyards. Oak trees dot the rolling hills at the site which is located within the boundaries of the nearly 9,000 acres of land the founders purchased in 1911 for the new colony of Solvang.

Valets met arriving guests who were then escorted to the private upper lawn for a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. The Prince Consort arrived and, with the sun sinking low in the sky, greeted each of the guests attending the sold out dinner.  He was escorted in by Ms. Bates to a standing ovation. Erik Gregersen, grandson of one of Solvang’s founders, welcomed guests.

Dinner was served family style and included purple potatoes, roasted beets, corn salad and asparagus followed by oak grilled salmon and tri-tip with salsa pebre. Local musician Ron Miller’s Full Gallup Band provided distinctly western background music.

A short program followed the dinner. Centennial Committee members Ed Skytt and Joan Jamieson presented The Prince Consort with gifts that included a custom made cowboy hat. Applause and laughter erupted as he tried on the new accessory and waved it in the air. Gifts made by local silversmith Vern McWilliams were presented to members of the royal entourage.

The musically gifted Statom Family — Lee, Else and Brendan — performed a special Solvang centennial version of Hils Fra Os Derhjemme.

Dessert was presented with great flair as the servers entered the canopy, each carrying a tray of Royal Swans — delicate puff pastry filled with cream and raspberries — that seemed to float in a stream to each table.

Laughter and smiles were abundant as the memorable evening came to a close. White lights twinkled under the clear canopy that was nestled in a grove of softly lit oak trees and the Moon shone brightly in the midnight blue sky.

The Royal Dinner Tent

The City of Solvang and the Centennial Committee hosted the visit with events coordinated by Esther Jacobsen Bates and Tracy Farhad.

Honored Danish guests included: Peter Taksøe-Jensen, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States; Christian Eugen-Olsen, Lieutenant Colonel, Master of Ceremonies to Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark and His Royal Highness The Prince Consort, Chamberlain; Torsten Jansen, Minister Counselor, Head of Public Diplomacy and Communication, Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, DC; Colonel, Chamberlain Henning Brøchmann Larsen, Chief of Her Majesty The Queen’s Military Household; Stig Stenhøj, Honorary Consul, Royal Danish Consulate in Los Angeles.


Thisted ChoirPlease join in Solvang's Centennial Celebration in welcoming the Thisted Church Choir of Men and Boys from Denmark. Under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary, they will be performing a free concert at Bethania Lutheran Church, July 7th at 7:30 pm. Their music will include Danish, Scandinavian, British, German and American music from four decades.

Considered one of the best in Denmark, Thisted Church Choir was started in 1982 as a purely boys choir but began including men’s voices in 1988. They rehearse three times a week and have a “choir school” where boys from the 3rd grade in the schools of Thisted receive basic voice training, aural training and music reading, as well as training in the liturgy before they are accepted in the choir. The Choir consists of 40 singers and is modeled from the English cathedral choir tradition. They often perform with The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra as well as on Danish National Radio. Their voices can be heard at morning services and evensongs in Thisted Church as well as numerous other churches across Denmark. They have performed at St. Pauls Cathedral in London as well as St. Thomas Church in New York and the National Cathedral in Washington. Currently they are touring California with stops at Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, as well as other Danish Churches and Disneyland.

DANISH BY DESIGN: The Art and Inspiration of Rick James Marzullo
JULY 31 - OCTOBER 30, 2011

On display beginning July 31 in the Museum Gallery is Danish by Design, The Art and Inspiration of Rick James Marzullo. This Santa Ynez Valley artist is best known for his intricate papercuttings and has works in collections all over the world. His sought-after cuttings are primarily in the Danish Folk traditions.

Yet many don’t know that he also works in a number of other art mediums, and that he has designed for other artisans.

The exhibit includes Rick’s paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolors; papercuttings; ceramics; and design work for projects in stained glass, wrought iron, Danish folk costumes, and traditional Danish handwork and decorative arts.

Spanning the large gallery window is “100 AAR - 100 BLOMSTER” (100 years, 100 flowers), a special papirklip installation honoring the centennial of Solvang.

In Danish the word by means “town.” In a play on translation, “Danish by Design” can also be interpreted as “Danish town design.”

Rick has been fortunate enough to have worked with and along side of many of Solvang’s artisans who have instilled in him a deep respect for Denmark’s traditional folk arts and crafts.  “I am inspired by artisans who have spent their lifetimes keeping folk art alive and finding ways to inform and share the past with the present,” says Rick. “Many dedicated artisans and artists have made Solvang the gem it is today, making the outside reflect the inside enlightenment fostered by its founders and early pioneer families.”

An avid historian, Marzullo has long been fascinated with the history of Denmark and the Danish-American experience. The majority of his work is Danish or Scandinavian in theme. “To be able to be a part of creating a visual record of that history is humbling and rewarding at the same time,” he says. “Inspiration often comes from the historic folk and fine arts of Scandinavia.”

Danish By Design will be on exhibit through October 30. See PDF invitation.


Erik GregersonThe Solvang Centennial celebration has Elverhøj Museum of History and Art as a key focal point. And rightly so. Elverhøj is the repository for preserving much of the history, culture and customs of this Danish community. Solvang was founded in 1911 by three Danish educators who had a dream of a Danish settlement on the West Coast with an agricultural environment and a Danish Folkehøjskole (folk high school) to educate its young people.
Our Danish founders would be proud of our city’s continuing connection with its Danish roots. Not only do we have the reputation of being the Danish Capital of America, but we actually still have many Danes living and working here. Although the Danish flavor of the area is not as strong as it was in the past, and many of the younger generation no longer speak the language, there is a strong desire to retain as much of the Danish culture as possible.
Elverhøj is proud of its participation in the Centennial celebration and its part in maintaining ties with Denmark, especially through the Danish embassy in Washington and various Danish organizations throughout North America. We are also proud of the job we are doing to physically preserve the Danish history, culture and customs of the Danes in this area. Our collection of artifacts and records of earlier years in Solvang’s Danish community is ever-growing and expanding.
We look forward to working with the community to insure that this work continues into the future. Our Board of Directors is dedicated to providing the resources to accomplish our objectives and looks to the community for support in this important endeavor. We also hope that each of you will visit Elverhøj Museum frequently to view our constantly changing history and cultural exhibits and the varied shows in our art gallery.


Esther Jacobsen BatesThis summer Elverhøj has been caught up in a whirlwind of activity as Solvang’s Centennial Celebration continues. I find my role as Executive Director taking on greater depths and new challenges. Highlight of the year, of course, was the Royal Visit of Henrik, His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark in June. You can read all about it at the top of this page. But what is equally fascinating are the behind-the-scenes planning and detailed preparations that went into making the Royal Visit happen.
The visit was more than five years in the planning, which included close work and negotiations with the Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Everything had to be arranged according to protocol and the Palace’s wishes. Among many other things I was called upon to pitch a proposed itinerary for the Prince Consort and his entourage to an advanced team of representatives from the Palace and Embassy. They advised and consented.
We wanted to share with The Prince Consort a sense of the beauty and culture of Solvang as well as the small-town friendliness of the place. It was to be a fun and elegant event, with the whole community invited.
We had three and a half weeks to execute the agreed-upon events. The work was intense and involved precision-oriented team work. There were a myriad of details, large and small, to be arranged. And we knew that the results of our efforts would be reported by the international media!
It was stressful but exciting. I felt so honored to escort The Prince Consort and his entourage, from his arrival at the Santa Barbara airport to his departure on Sunday morning for San Francisco, the final leg of his United States tour. What a privilege it is for me to work in a position where my Danish heritage is so important and relevant!
The pace at Elverhøj hasn’t slackened. The upcoming week of Danish Days (September 14-18) may be the busiest of the year. Projects I’m currently working on: a private reception at Elverhøj for the Mayor of Aalborg, Denmark (Solvang’s Sister City) and local dignitaries; welcome event for Team Solvang 100 cyclists — Danish dignitaries, celebrities, and diplomats riding from San Francisco to Solvang; Elverhøj’s entry in the Danish Days Parade (Sept. 17); Living History Festival at Elverhøj (Sept. 17 & 18) with interactive activities, demonstrations, and fun for all ages. I hardly have time to catch my breath, but its all very exciting! Please make a point of visiting the Museum and joining the fun!

Esther Jacobsen Bates

Saturday-Sunday, September 17-18, 10 am to 4 pm

Living History FestivalStep back into the Old World culture of Denmark during Elverhøj’s Living History Festival. Held annually in conjunction with Solvang’s Danish Days, the 2011 Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, from 10 am to 4 pm. Bring the family for this free weekend event and enjoy a journey back in time.
Volunteers in handmade Danish costumes demonstrate a variety of Old World craft and folk arts, fiber arts, and more. There will be interactive and educational activities for all ages.
Exhibits come to life as volunteers demonstrate spinning and weaving in the Museum’s Immigration Era Room, which showcases pre-industrial Danish artifacts. Scandinavian fiber arts such as Viking knitting, card weaving, Hardanger, and Nolbinding will be demonstrated in the Museum’s Main Room and Museum Gallery. Bobbin lace makers will create samples of their exacting and delicate work, even offering guests an opportunity to try their hand at this centuries-old art.
Traditional Danish crafts, including handmade Christmas decorations such as woven paper hearts and paper stars, will be demonstrated by volunteers who will have samples to handout. Rick James Marzullo will demonstrate papirklip, the Danish folk art tradition of papercutting. His amazing ability to create intricate designs with materials as simple as paper and scissors is showcased in the current gallery exhibit Danish By Design.
Randall McGeeStoryteller Randall McGee will don period garb as he presents Hans Christian Andersen stories in the Museum garden. Demonstrations outdoors under the trellis will feature stone carving and woodcarving using a variety of hand tools and techniques. These skills were practiced by many early peoples, including the Vikings. You can even try your hand at creating a small stone carving. 
Docent-led tours of the museum’s historical, cultural and art exhibits will be offered throughout the weekend.
More information and a schedule of events will be posted by September 10.

Oct. 28 lecture at Elverhøj Museum

On Friday, October 28 at 7 pm, Elverhøj Museum of History and Art presents a lecture on Denmark’s most beloved storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen. Professor Poul Houe, a highly-respected Danish scholar and educator, discusses “The California of Poetry: Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales of the Future.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Scandinavian Foundation. Admission is free; refreshments will be served.

“The California of Poetry” is the heading of the last chapter in Andersen’s travelogue published in 1851, at the time of the California Gold Rush. Andersen, the cosmopolitan, was also a Dane who always returned “home” from his many journeys abroad. Yet instead of returning to provincial comfort, he allowed his impressions of foreign lands and places, moral attitudes and customs, to expand his outlook and to instill his view of tradition with an urgent sense of the modern.

“Although Andersen lived in the 19th century, his take on the future was so daring that he may still cut us on its sharpest edges,” notes Dr. Houe. “We may even find ourselves re-thinking some of our comfortable 21st century notions.”

Poul Houe, who was born and educated in Denmark, has a distinguished record. He has been Professor of Scandinavian Literature at the University of Minnesota since 1978. He is a specialist in 19th and 20th century Scandinavian culture and literature, travel literature, exile and modern European humanism. He has authored and/or edited a number of books and articles in academic journals, magazines and newspapers both in Europe and in North America.

Dr. Houe’s most recent book is a collection of lectures and articles on Hans Christian Andersen. He has received many grants and awards from both sides of the Atlantic. He also serves on editorial boards and academic steering committees in Scandinavia and abroad.

November 4 & 5

The popular Queen of Arts Show and Sale takes over the museum’s gallery and garden on November 4 and 5. The event begins with a lively opening reception and sale on Friday, November 4 from 4:00 to 7:00pm. Guests can enjoy wine and appetizers while shopping for unique, handmade items.

Featuring 40 artists and crafts people, the show and sale continues on Saturday, November 5, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. There is no charge for admission on either day.

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 décor accessories. Incorporating hand-painted fabric, hand spun fibers, and/or felted fabric, these pieces are a delight to the eye and touch. Choose from a wonderful selection of handmade holiday ornaments and decorations to brighten your home.

The “Royal” artists for 2011 are: Emily Abello, Georganne Alex, Diane Arnold, Norah Bierer, Ina Brittain, Elaine Cain, Rachel Cane, Mary Jean Connors, Colleen Darling, Kimberly Davis, Debbie Donley, Lou Ela Donley, Shari Eynon, Corby Fleming, Chris Hansen, Sukey Hughes, Marcelino Jimenez, Kristen Johnson, Carol Kemp, Cindy Knight, Angela Lang, Lindsey Manzo, Jill McCutcheon, Syd McCutcheon, Mike McNutt, Monika Miehle, Vicki Mitchell, Judy Nilsen, Shelly Niro, Tina Olivera, Diana Paul, Petti Pfau, Mary Price, Sue Sattler, Cheryl Seekins, Tracy Shearer, Deborah Simpson, Mary Stanley, Leslie Vincent, Amy Yanez.

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

$1,000 Juror’s Award - November 13 Opening Celebration

Faces of Solvang

“Faces of Solvang: 100 Years of Diversity and Community” debuts November 13 in the gallery at Elverhøj Museum of History and Art. The exhibition celebrates Solvang’s centennial with photographs depicting the many faces of Solvang’s cultures, past and present.

The diverse group of 17 jury-selected photographers shares their experiences of Solvang, providing a visual, compelling idea of the community and its individuals.

A Juror’s Award of $1,000 and other awards will be presented during the opening reception on Sunday November 13 from 3:00 to 5:00pm. The public is invited to meet and celebrate with the photographers. There is no charge for admission; refreshments will be served.

A team of jurors, led by Crista Dix, was pleased to select from a diverse and strong field of photo entries. Dix, founder and director of Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, is a photographer, curator, and lover of photography. She has been a member of numerous panels, discussions, and juried creative competitions, and has participated in major portfolio reviews across the country as well as online.

Selected photographers are: Emily Abello, Neal Abello, Terry Ames, Jeremy Ball, Susan Bott, Constance Cody, Kimberly Davis, Ann Dittmer, Tracy Farhad, Kam Jacoby, Kristen Johnson, Robert W. Knowles, Ines Labunski Roberts, Kay McWilliams, Heidi Peschel, Bob Raleigh, Edel Schonfeldt, Margaret Swann, and Frank Swanson.

Funding for the “Faces of Solvang” exhibition was generously provided by The Ann Jackson Family Foundation. The show will be on display through January 30, 2012.


The new Christmas ornaments have arrived! This is the third in a series of collectable keepsake ornaments produced exclusively for Elverhøj.
The original design, created by Santa Ynez Valley artist Rick James Marzullo, is imprinted on porcelain that has an open work border. The ornament retails for $15.00 and comes boxed, ready for gift-giving.
To reserve your ornament(s), phone the Museum at (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org with your request. Quantities are limited. Delivery via U.S. mail is available.

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