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2016 News Archive
News Archive


Friday January 22 – 7:30 pm
Japanese Macaque: Snow Monkeys and Their Winter Spa Visits

Sunday January 24
ART OF THE KIMONO with Kathleen Graves, 3:30 pm
CLOSING RECEPTION for artist Carol Wood, 4 to 5 pm

Just ThinkingWhat primate plays with rocks, eats anything, can handle a little chill but loves a good hot tub?  Join us at Elverhøj on Friday January 22 to learn about the Japanese Macaque, commonly referred to as snow monkeys. Photographer Richard Lindekens returns to present a narrated slide show about these adorable creatures.

The show will be presented in the Museum Gallery, surrounded by the colorful paintings by C. Wood displayed in the current exhibition, “East to West: The Kimono Series.” The free presentation beings at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 7 pm; seating is limited.

A retired commercial pilot, photographer Richard Lindekens calls on his inspiration in the possibilities of adventure travel. Captivated with cultures he visited during his military service and in 40 plus years of being a pilot, his innate curiosity has led him to remote points along the map. A colleague invited Richard to join him on a trip to Japan to capture the snow monkeys in their favorite winter habitat, the warm hot springs. They traveled on to the snowy highlands of Hokkaido, the northernmost island, to photograph the Steller’s sea eagles.

Continuing on the theme of Japanese culture, Kathleen Graves will be at the museum on Sunday January 24 for a 3:30 talk about the traditional clothing of Japan, the kimono. The celebration of art and Japanese culture continues with a reception for artist Carol Wood until 5 pm marking the close of the “Kimono Series” exhibition. 

All the events are open to the public and offered free of charge.


New series launches Feb. 13

Join us for an innovative new series of free drop-in art workshops the “Second Saturday” of each month. In addition to the management of the museum, every member of our staff has a personal connection to the arts, which makes our small museum the perfect setting to tap into your creative side! Our executive director has years of experience managing children’s art programs, Megan Linton is a talented illustrator who specializes in children’s book illustrations and Nina Hager has a background in ceramics and art instruction.

Elverhøj Second Saturdays will offer family-friendly fun with hands-on activities using a wide variety of art mediums and themes. Drop in, make art, and take home your new creation. FREE.

  • February 13: Vintage Valentines
  • March 12: Hans Christian Andersen Illustrated Storybooks
  • April 9: Making Impressions: Stamp Artists
  • May 14: My Family Tree Handprints
  • June 11: Viking Ship Collages
  • July 9: Futhark! Fun with Viking Runes

Workshops open to all generations, ages 5 and up.
Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Please see CLASSES for details.


Museum Day 2016Saturday March 5
Extended hours: 10 AM - 6 PM


4 - 6 PM: Seen & Spoken—
Art Dialogue with DiPego & Knowles

Author and screenwriter Jerry DiPego joins artist Joseph Knowles for “Seen & Spoken,” a dialogue about art and storytelling on Saturday March 5. The 4 pm talk, hosted by Elverhøj Museum of History and Art, is free and open to the public. A social hour will immediately follow the talk.

The extemporaneous and constructive dialogue will focus on the similarities and differences in how this painter and this writer set out to make art.  Knowles’ powerful paintings are now hanging in the Elverhøj Gallery in an exhibition capturing the evolution of his decades-long art career.

Knowles & DePegoJerry DiPego has enjoyed an impressive 40-year career spent penning novels, original screenplays and adaptions for motion pictures. Feature films, television productions and character studies have centered on his unlimited imagination.

The major part of Knowles’ art making has been on paper, in pastel, oil, watercolor and ink. Although his subject matter varies from purely abstract to the highly representational, there are compositional and expressive ideas that carry through the body of work.


Sunday March 13 Concert

Please join us in welcoming the Copenhagen Girls Choir for a special evening of music, Sunday March 13. This award-winning Danish choir, considered one of the best girls’ choirs in the world, will be performing along with the internationally renowned Danish pianist Ms. Katrine Gislinge.

The choir, comprised of 33 girls ages 14 to 16, is making a stop in Solvang between performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The homogenous voices of these highly trained girls, accompanied by a world-class soloist, will fill Bethania Lutheran Church, 603 Atterdag Road, for a free concert at 7 pm.

Copenhagen Girls Choir

Through a strong focus on educating children and youth in the choir tradition, this elite ensemble covers a broad repertoire encompassing modern compositions, classical composers and pop songs without losing its musical spark and infectious enthusiasm. The concert, will feature a world premiere: a spring piece for piano and equal voices written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen (b. 1958), Professor Emeritus in composition. His compositions are performed and recorded worldwide, including a recent premier at Carnegie Hall.

The concert also features piano and choral music, both together and separately. The repertoire is French choral and piano music, among others Debussy’s beautiful piece “Salut Printemps.” In addition there will be Danish choral music by composers such as Carl Nielsen and Per Nørgård.

The acclaimed Girls Choir has its home at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium, the Copenhagen Municipal Choir School. Founded in 1973, the choir is under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Benedikte. It is the resident choir at Helligaandskirken in central Copenhagen (Church of the Holy Spirit). The connection between court, church and school is a centuries old tradition in Denmark and a tradition which the Copenhagen Girls Choir proudly maintains.

The choir recently won four gold level diplomas at international choir competitions in the Czech Republic, Austria and Portugal. Chief conductor Anne Marie Granau graduated from the Royal College of Music in London and the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen. She was assistant conductor at the Royal Danish Opera, and has conducted the Copenhagen Philharmonic, The Royal Danish Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Danish National Vocal Ensemble among others.

Elverhøj has arranged for the Copenhagen Girls Choir to include this stop in Solvang while touring the west coast, including arranging all the details of the visit such as food, housing, and a museum and town tour. Cultural exchanges like this visit are a direct result of Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen-Bates’ ties with the Danish Embassy.


New Year, New Inspiration

EstherWith the promise of spring just around the corner, we look forward to 2016 with renewed energy. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors and the Staff of Elverhøj Museum I would like to express deep gratitude for your many contributions to Elverhøj. Your year-round support, participation, and generosity are much needed and much appreciated, and have a tremendous impact in our Museum, the community and beyond.

While in some ways 2015 seems well behind us, many of the upcoming events, activities and exhibitions had their beginnings last year. In March of 2015, about three dozen Danish cultural representatives from around the U.S. gathered at my invitation for a 3-day forum in Solvang. This network of people, known as Cultural Frontrunners, was led by Danish Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen and facilitated by the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC and the Consulate in New York City. Guest speakers, workshops and dialogue covered an inspiring range of topics; ranging from new Nordic cuisine to international diplomacy and the arts with the central theme of Danish culture. Inspiration and collaboration grew along with friendships that span the continent and beyond.

One outcome of the Cultural Frontrunners meeting was the establishment of a new series of occasional Elverhøj events called “Danish Modern.” The series launched last spring with an evening of imaginative and occasionally irreverent fun, celebrating Danish food and spirits. Several Danish Modern events take place soon. A March performance by the world renowned Copenhagen Girls Choir at Bethania Lutheran Church, facilitated by contacts at the Danish Embassy and in Denmark, is sure to be a memorable experience for all ages. This is a fine example of the cultural exchange that continues between Solvang and Denmark. And it’s free to all! Then there is a culinary workshop focused on smørrebrød, the versatile Danish open-face sandwich. Get your friends together for a fun and flavorful evening and learn more about Nordic cuisine, both traditional and modern.

Looking towards summer, the Solstice Sundowner benefit party is another Danish Modern event as we celebrate the year’s longest day Danish style while raising funds to support the museum. Tickets for this event sells out quickly, so be sure to get your reservations in early.

At the Museum, attendance continues to grow each year, driven in part by the continued success of our art exhibitions and educational programming. The board of directors and staff work hard to keep the historic building maintained, safe and efficient for the 20,000 visitors who come annually. As Executive Director, I work with a tremendous team of volunteers and staff. We thoroughly enjoy creating a space where the rich talent of the Valley can be on exhibit and enjoyed by many. We often reflect on the past of our institution with appreciation for the family who gave their home to become a museum. We marvel at the positive impacts of Elverhøj in our community, and are inspired by the continued generosity and dedication of our members and supporters.

All in all, it’s shaping up to be another very active and exciting year at Elverhøj. I look forward to seeing you as the year unfolds!


Everything and the Kitchen Sink...

Many people are familiar with the public space on the main floor of Elverhøj, but may not realize that the upstairs administrative spaces are essential to the functioning of the Museum. Originally built as a studio apartment in the 1950s, the upstairs was living space for extended family and included a kitchenette, living and small storage spaces accessible by both interior and exterior stairs. When the former Brandt-Erichsen home was retrofitted to become a public museum, the upstairs apartment remained intact and became home to the Museum’s first director, his wife and young child. Eventually the space was converted to administrative and collections use. But the kitchen space remained intact, serving also as a collections storage and project work area.

About three years ago it was agreed that it was a priority to renovate and improve the layout and function of the space. In August of 2015 the area was gutted and, just in time for the Christmas Party, construction of the beautiful, functional space was complete.

Multiple grant proposals were written to pay for the much needed updates. Old cabinetry and kitchenette were demolished along with the window seat, and one wall was removed, exposing a large space in the eves. Contractors installed new insulation, drywall, electrical and lights, custom made cabinets, granite countertops, a large sink, dishwasher, under cabinet refrigerator and wine cooler. The “found” space in the eves was transformed into artifact and art storage. The dark, dirty wood floors were sanded and finished. A center work island, under construction, will complete the project. Grant support made these updates go from the drawing table to the realized plans of our now modern work area.

Upstairs Elverhoj

Funding for the upstairs renovation project were received from:

  • The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation
  • The Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Foundation

Special Thanks our team of fabulous & skilled contractors:

  • AllStar Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Bill Brown Painting
  • Broken Drum Insulation
  • Central Coast Wood Flooring
  • Freddy Belen Plumbing
  • Malafronte Electric
  • Metrolic Construction
  • Nielsen Building Materials
  • Stephen Bunderson
  • Van Gerritson Drywall
  • Waterman’s Fine Cabinetry

The upstairs renovation project exposed a critical problem with the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system. Much-needed repairs, completed in the fall, included replacement of duct work which dated back over 25 years. Emergency grants funded this urgent and unexpected need. The HVAC work ensures a clean, healthy indoor environment for people, as well as the Museum exhibits and collections.

The repairs were made possible by generous grants from:

  • The Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • The Santa Ynez Valley Foundation



A series of festive events celebrating the treasures of the community. Sip & savor local flavors, revel in dialogue and story, discover and share traditions. No charge for admission.

  • E-vite
  • SATURDAY MAY 21, 4:30 - 6:30 PM: Home Grown—The Fruits of Our Labor. Delve into the area’s celebrated agrarian culture.
  • FRIDAY JUNE 3, 7 - 9 PM: Stories at Sunset. Celebrate native language and oral traditions.
  • WEDNESDAY JULY 20, 5 - 7 PM: Art Salon—A Passion for Culture with Holli Harmon and the “Portraits of the Central Coast” project.
  • SATURDAY AUGUST 13, 5 - 7 PM: Home Plate—How the Danes Do It. Delight in Danish food and merriment at our closing reception.


Solstice Sundowner


Dinner at sunset, entertainment under the full Moon
2016 Solstice Sponsorship Packages now available

Elverhøj celebrated the year’s longest day at the Solstice Sundowner benefit party last year, and will do so again this year. Guests enjoyed fine food, local wines and entertainment under the summer evening shade of stately oak trees on the greens, lakeside in a beautiful vineyard location in the hills outside Solvang.

With the sun sinking past the rolling rows of grapevines, guest enjoyed bidding on auction items large and small, ranging from gift certificates to local eateries to an exotic trip to a luxury estate in Bali. Live and silent auctions featured many exclusive experiences and one-of-a-kind items, and happily had bidders in friendly competition for the many offerings donated by local businesses and residents.

Museum members and friends attending the sold out event gathered near the lake’s edge to conclude the evening with the ancient, Danish midsummer custom of lighting the “Sankt Hans Aften” (St. John’s Eve) bonfire.

Solstice Sundowner 2015
The bucolic setting of Elverhøj’s signature Solstice party is located at a private vineyard within the boundaries of the nearly 9,000 acres that the founders of Solvang bought in 1910 for their new Danish Colony.


Musings about Elverhøj when it was the Brandt-Erichsen family home
By Nancy Brandt-Erichsen

Editor’s Note: The historic hand-crafted structure that houses Elverhøj Museum was the dream home of Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha (Patt) Mott. He was an internationally recognized painter and sculptor and she was an accomplished painter and art teacher. The Brandt-Erichsens spent more than three years building their home and, in1954, moved in with children Jean, Thor and David. Nancy became part of the family when she married Thor in 1961.

NancyI love coming back to Elverhøj! It always brings a flood of memories. I first visited the family here in 1956 as a teenager when Thor and I started dating. The home continues to be a source of memories of the past, and a current place of family gatherings and learning for our descendants.

Each room holds memories of earlier days, when it was the family home. The kitchen still has the welcoming warmth that evokes memories of family meals and conversations. The table and benches are much as they were then. We all loved smørrebrød (Danish open face sandwiches). Patt had all the makings! She bought leverpostej at Hanly’s and pumpernickel from one of the local bakeries. When Thor and I came to visit she always had pickled herring, cheeses, pickled beets, and sometimes ham or beef. Trays of makings were set out on the table and each proceeded to make their favorite creation. The table was part in the sun, part in the shade and we could hear the birds and enjoy her lovely garden. I took my lunch to the garden on a recent visit to the Museum and I found myself lost in time.

The family living room was large by standards of the 1950s. In the front corner was a lovely baby grand piano. Patt loved music and Jean played several instruments. A number of events and concerts were held in the living room where Museum visitors are now greeted on a daily basis.

Original living room

The arts thrived in the Brandt-Erichsen home. What a busy place the studio was! In 1953 when Viggo passed, Patt continued her painting, drawing and community classes, spending hours on her own work as well as teaching. There were tables down the sides and center of the studio, with a number of still life set ups. Around the edges were pieces of Viggo’s sculptures in various stages of completeness. Patt had shelves and drawers with art supplies, and paintings on easels, on tables, and in piles. A studio sink allowed for cleaning brushes and other art materials.

“Elverhoy” (the American name of the home) has always been a place where music and the arts flourished. Our family finds great pride and joy in knowing that, as a museum, nearly a quarter million people have entered by Viggo’s handcarved front door to find a vibrant arts community and a thriving historical and cultural home.



Diane the VikingCelebrate Solvang’s historical and cultural roots at the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday September 17 and 18, at Elverhøj Museum of History and Art. A Viking camp will occupy the garden throughout the weekend while storytellers and craftspeople demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors. The public is invited; admission is free.

“New this year are a variety of stations with hands-on activities for all ages, and the Danish Christmas Corner with gifts and accessories rooted in Danish Christmas traditions,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “Guests can make a cut paper decoration, get creative with Viking runes stamps, weave a paper star, dress up and snap a selfie with a Viking, and shop for a Danish Christmas keepsake.”

Staking camp in the Museum garden is a Viking couple of 1,000 years ago. The set-up displays the skills, talents and crafts observed by Viking age women. The historically costumed pair will also have a display of the weapons, armor and accouterments which exemplified the Nordic persona of the age. Artifacts on display have all been created in exacting detail, many by world renowned artisans

Randall McGeeInside the Museum, exhibits come to life with demonstrations of spinning and weaving. Bobbin lace makers will hand weave intricate designs and offer guests an opportunity to try this centuries-old art. Docents clad in colorful Danish folk costumes will be creating Danish Christmas crafts such as woven paper hearts and paper stars.

Storyteller Randall McGee, always a Festival favorite, will perform as world famous author Hans Christian Andersen. Story time is at 1 pm on Saturday and 12:30 pm Sunday. Papirklip artist Rick James Marzullo will demonstrating the Danish folk art of papercutting that has earned him international acclaim. Rounding out the weekend of free activities are docent-led tours of the museum’s historical, cultural, and art exhibits.



June 18, 2016: On the evening of the first full Moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, the Elverhøj Museum celebrated with one hundred and sixty-five supporters of the Museum, whose mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts. The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art held its annual Solstice Sundowner benefit at the beautiful lakeside setting of a vineyard in the Ballard Canyon area. Fire entertainers provided entertainment under a star-filled sky on this unique full-Moon Solstice which will not occur again for 19 years.

Read complete Santa Ynez Valley News article about the event by Mary Ann Norbom, with photo slide show by Eric Isaacs/emiphoto.com. One of his photos is below.

Solstice Sundowner 2016



The Elverhøj Museum invites you to enjoy the beauty and convergence of art, culture and nature with a series of fun and educational excursions. Conducted in partnership with the Wildling Museum and Solvang and Buellton Parks and Recreation, each outing includes transportation, entrance fees and support from skilled museum curators who provide insider appreciation for the various experiences and exhibits.

The fall excursions kick off with a return visit to The Broad in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 27. This new 50,000 sq. ft. contemporary art museum houses nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. Bypass the ticket line with a VIP on-site welcome and introduction followed by a self-guided tour. There will be time for a walk across the street to view the architecturally stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall or the LA Museum of Contemporary Art and enjoy lunch on your own. Pick up in Solvang at the Vet’s Hall at 8:30 am. Cost is $49 per person.

On Tuesday, October 11 visit the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard. Perfectly situated on the Oxnard Channel Islands Harbor, sits a 500 year-old collection of exquisite seascape paintings and stunning ship models within the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. In addition to viewing the 70-plus original paintings, including some of the best examples of the maritime genre on display and the largest collection of museum-quality ship models on the West Coast, explore the special exhibition Designs from the Deep: The Architecture of Shells. Enjoy lunch on your own at many restaurants on the harbor. Pick up at the Vets Hall in Solvang at 10 am. Fee is $33 per person.

On Thursday, November 10, explore the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, where art and culture are set amidst 150 acres of breathtaking gardens featuring over 14,000 different species of plants.  In addition to a Gutenberg Bible and famous European portraits, special exhibitions include “Geographies of Wonder: The Evolution of the National Parks” and “Gardens, Art, & Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints.”  Lunch on your own at one of several garden cafés. Pick up at the Buellton Rec Center at 10 am. Fee is $59 per person.

The final fall excursion on Thursday, December 1 includes two Pasadena locations. Experience the wonders of Descanso Gardens, home to North America’s largest camellia collection and many rare and beautiful plants from around the world. After lunch on your own in Old Pasadena, enjoy the Norton Simon Museum with its astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century along with Southeast Asian art dating back 2,000 years. Special exhibits include Picasso lithographs and Van Gogh’s Bedroom. Pick up at the Buellton Rec Center at 8am. Fee is $59 per person.

Space is limited and excursions sell out quickly. Reservations can be made online at buelltonrec.com, or phone Buellton Rec at (805) 688-1086, Solvang Rec at (805) 688-7529, or stop by either office. 



Queen of ArtsThe Queen of Arts Show and Sale takes over the gallery and garden at Elverhøj Museum for two days, November 11 and 12. Elverhøj will open its doors to locals and visitors wanting to get a jump on their early Christmas shopping at this popular annual arts and crafts sale. Guests can look forward to a festive two-day celebration with maker-designed goods, hand-crafted and sold by the artists themselves! Enjoy inspired surroundings, music, fun and food along with shopping the artfully crafted goods of 32 regional artists and craftspeople.

In addition to perusing a great variety of one-of-a-kind items, guests are invited to enjoy the latest food trend—popular food truck cuisine by California Tacos which will be on site from 11 am to 3 pm both days. There is no charge for admission.

“From unique folk crafts to fine art, there is a great variety of imaginative arts and crafts with a wide range of prices,” said Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “We have given the Queen a vacation over the past few years, while making the Queen of Arts Festival more streamlined, so that the artists themselves will conduct all their own sales.” 

The Festival, once begun as a small gathering in Syd McCutcheon’s home, has now grown to blossom in Elverhøj’s building and gardens.


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