Elverhøj logo Elverhøj Museum of History and ArtElverhøj Museum  
The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
2018 News Archive
News Archive


On November 1 it was announced that Elverhøj was voted “Best Art Gallery” by readers of the Santa Ynez Valley News!

Best of the Valley 2018


Saturday September 15 - 10 to 5
Sunday September 16 - 10 to 4

bobbin lace makingElverhøj celebrates Solvang’s history and cultural roots at the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday September 15 and 16. Artisans, storytellers and craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors. This free event is held in conjunction with the town’s Danish Days.

“There will be hands-on activities for all ages and the Danish Christmas Corner with gifts and accessories rooted in Danish traditions,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “Guests can make paper craft decorations, get creative with Viking runes stamps, weave paper stars, dress up like Vikings and snap selfies, and shop for Danish Christmas keepsakes.”

Inside the Museum, exhibits come to life with demonstrations. 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 both days at 1 pm. Rick James Marzullo will demonstrate 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.

The museum occupies the former residence of one of Solvang’s most artistic families. The historic handcrafted structure, located two blocks south of the village center at 1624 Elverhoy Way, is the former dream home of artists Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. In 1949 they began building in a style derived from the large Danish farmhouses of 18th century Jutland. Many elements of Scandinavian architecture were incorporated into the design. Ornamental wrought ironwork, sculptures, a carved redwood main entry door, and hand painted wall panels are just some of the permanent imprints of this talented family.

Along with rotating contemporary exhibitions in the gallery, Elverhøj features a variety of permanent exhibits that address Solvang’s Danish heritage and early history, the Danish emigration to America, and various Danish artifacts. In the museum garden is a diorama cottage depicting Solvang in the 1920s and more photographs showing the early years of Solvang’s founding.

Saturday, September 15

10 am to 5pm - Viking Jewelry Making
11 am to 3 pm - Bobbin Lace Making
11:30 am to 12:30 pm - Papirklip artist Rick Marzullo
1 pm - Storytelling with Randel McGee as H.C. Andersen
1 to 3 pm - Danish Christmas paper crafts
2 to 5 pm - Hardanger Embroidery

Sunday, September 16

10 am to noon - Viking Jewelry Making
11 am to 3 pm - Bobbin Lace Making
1 to 3 pm - Danish Christmas paper crafts
1 pm - Storytelling with Randel McGee as H.C. Andersen
1 to 4 pm - Hardanger Embroidery



The article Looking back, moving forward: While reminiscing about its 30-year history, the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang plants a foot firmly in the future was posted on August 23rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun, Volume 19, Issue 25.

The publication My Livable City Vol. 4 Issue. 1, Apr-Jun 2017, included an article about Solvang in its Urban Blueprint section (“A series of case studies that capture the transformational qualities of well-designed cities”). Author Willem Swart gives an insightful and comprehensive analysis of Solvang’s development through the lens of architecture and what he calls 'allopatric urbanization.' For a PDF copy of the complete article, click the image below.



Our 2018 Solstice Sundowner Benefit Party on June 16 was another magical evening under the stars. The menu was superb as caterer Savoir Faire knocked it out of the park with perfectly cooked salmon and tender New York steak. Fresh seasonal salads and decadent amaretti cake paired perfectly with local wines provided by Evan’s Ranch, Fess Parker and Andrew Murray. Beer was provided by Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company and a delicious lemon mint shrub cocktail provided by Broken Clock Vinegar Works.

Musician Patrick Montgomery provided the perfect ambiance for a lovely evening complimented by LED hoop dancers to round off the night with the lighting of the bonfire as the big finale. Guests were busy bidding on fabulous silent auction items donated by local businesses followed by top notch live auction offers including vacations and many one-of-a-kind experiences.

Despite a bit cooler weather, guests said it was their favorite party to date and we couldn’t agree more. Our generous guests and community of donors helped us exceed our fundraising goal, while a team of volunteers worked behind the scenes to make it a perfect evening that was enjoyed by all.

Reporters Loved our Solstice Event:



Elverhøj Museum of Art and History in Solvang is pleased to announce Jody Williams has been hired to fill the newly created position of Assistant Director.

Jody Williams

Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates stated: “Jody has demonstrated passion, enthusiasm, and an ability to apply her substantial skills to help Elverhøj not only continue its pursuit of sharing Solvang history, Danish culture, and the arts, but to help the organization rise to a new level. This is a busy time of year and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team. We can already tell she is going to be a significant asset as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary and work toward expanding our programs and community outreach.”

Jody grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley where she attended Solvang School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. She earned her BA in the History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz, graduating with double honors and Phi Beta Kappa. During her undergraduate studies, Jody spent a year abroad attending the University of Bologna where she studied art history and Italian politics. Upon graduation, she moved back to the valley and interned at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Williams has spent the last 13 years in the wine industry, including a decade at The Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang, which she co-owns with her husband and in-laws.

“After graduation my plan was to start working in a museum and one day become a curator of art,” said Williams. “But I also wanted to move home to the Santa Ynez Valley rather than a big city. I am thrilled to now be able to do both, and am having a great time learning more about the area’s Danish heritage while also getting to work with contemporary artists.”

Williams resides in Solvang with her husband, Charles, five-year-old daughter Audrey and their black Labrador, Lucy. When not working, you can find her on a run with her dog, at a park with her daughter or enjoying the area’s many fabulous wineries and restaurants with her husband and friends.



YouTube vlogger Tony Wang and his family visited Solvang this spring. Here are the links to their family-friendly shows that debuted May 31:


Saturdays August 4, 11, 18, 25 at 11:30 am

Elverhøj will present a Saturday morning storytime each week in August at 11:30am. Children, with adult supervision, are invited to join us in the museum garden. Stories are geared towards children 2-8, but all ages are welcome. There is no charge to attend.

Each fun and casual session will start with a little song and wiggle time, then kids will enjoy a stories with an interactive question time at the end.

Stay and explore the museum or bring a picnic lunch and relax in the garden.



Elverhøy staff and more than 65 volunteers welcome 20,000 visitors a year from around the globe as we fulfill the museum’s mission to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.

Elverhøy staff and more than 65 volunteers welcome 20,000 visitors a year from around the globe as we fulfill the museum’s mission to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.

As part of our 30-year celebration, Elverhoy hosted a special exhibit entitled Past, Present & Future from August 25-November 11. Works in this special exhibition presented an extraordinary survey of the range of regional, national, and international artists supported and promoted by Elverhøj during the past three decades. It’s the largest number of artists represented in a single show in the museum’s history.

Since opening to the public in 1988, Elverhøj Museum of History and Art has exhibited the work of more than 400 artists working in media that range from painting, sculpture and ceramics to assemblage, textiles and film. The Past, Present & Future exhibition marked this milestone year with a visual tribute to artists of the past who are no longer with us, and with a curated selection of works by contemporary artists whose art has been shown in the gallery through the decades and are still producing art in the present. The display also spotlighted artists whose future successes were nurtured through participation in Elverhøj shows and mentoring by museum curators and art committee members.

Exhibitions during the past 30 years have represented a range of curatorial perspectives, addressed controversial issues through art, introduced viewers to foreign cultures, and celebrated the natural beauty of our area and its inhabitants.

From the earliest days, the museum has held a deep interest in bringing international talent to local audiences. With a focus on Solvang’s Danish heritage, guest artists have included painters, musicians, printmakers, choral groups, athletes, authors and performers.

Elverhøj has at its core a commitment to support arts and culture—a legacy of the artistic family who gave their home to be a community museum. We honor their vision and celebrate the artists of the past, present and future.

Artists of the Past

Viggo Brandt-Erichsen, Merv Corning, Gregory DeLeon, Eyvind Earle, Richard Lindekens, Barbra Minar, Martha Mott, Channing Peake and Bud Tullis.

Selected Contemporary Artists of the Present

Wesley Anderegg, R. Anthony Askew, Phoebe Brunner, John Cody, Jim Farnum, Karen Gearhart-Jensen, Rebecca Gomez, Holli Harmon, Patricia Hedrick, Kam Jacoby, Susan Jørgensen, Renée Kelleher, Lindy Kern, Joseph Knowles, Teresa McNeil MacLean, Rick James Marzullo, Ann Raleigh, Pat Roberts, Francis Scorzelli, Ro Snell, Nicole Strasburg, Dug Uyesaka, C. Wood, Seyburn Zorthian, and Pamela Zwehl-Burke.

Artists Whose Futures were Nurtured at Elverhøj

Kristen Bates, Mackenzie Duncan, Zoë Nathan, Luis Ramirez, Blakeney Sanford, and Chelsea Ward.



Elverhøj Museum of History & Art will celebrate the year’s longest day on Saturday June 16 with Solstice Sundowner, a benefit party with fun, fine food and local wines, entertainment.

Guests will congregate at 5 pm under a canopy of oaks on the greens alongside the picturesque lake at a private vineyard location in the hills outside Solvang. The bucolic setting lies off Ballard Canyon Road within the boundaries of the nearly 9,000 acres that Solvang’s founders bought in 1910 for their new Danish colony.

Solstice Sundowner

Superb wines will be flowing along with a Sundowner cocktail special. Tray-passed appetizers and a gourmet dinner will be followed by a decadent dessert. Reservations, $125 per person, sell out quickly for this community favorite fundraiser. 

Live music and entertainment will enthrall. The auction offers exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences and a wide range of specialty items ready to go home with the highest bidder. Following Danish tradition, a Solstice "Sankt Hans Aften" (St. John’s Eve) bonfire will be lit at lake’s edge as the sun sinks behind the hills.

Your attendance at an unforgettable evening helps support Elverhøj Museum, a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, and its mission to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.


Grand Party and Visit from Danish Ambassador

Elverhøj celebrated its 30th anniversary and played host to various invited guests and local dignitaries during a private reception and dinner on November 28th. Ambassador Henrik Bramsen Hahn traveled from the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C., to join in the festivities.

The lively invitation-only reception, held at the Museum’s historic home, featured tray-passed appetizers served by student members of the newly-formed American Danish Club from the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Reception guests included a good portion of the Solvang City Council, both incoming and present; Solvang’s Mayor Jim Richardson and Mayor-elect Ryan Toussaint; representatives from the offices of Supervisor Joan Hartmann and Congressman Salud Carbajal; founding and current Elverhøj Board Members; and Museum supporters. 

The pre-dinner reception also included a short program with remarks by Ambassador Hahn, whose sole reason for visiting Solvang was the Museum’s anniversary celebrations. “As a Dane, I am proud to go to this small, beautiful city in California where people still preserve the memory of Danish legacy and culture, “ remarked Ambassador Hahn. “Places like Solvang, and Elverhøj, have been instrumental in educating the American public about Denmark and our shared history.” He also spoke about Danish industry, including green-tech, and immigration.

Ambassador Hahn with Bent Olsen
Ambassador Hahn (right) with Bent Olsen.

“It is an honor to have Ambassador Hahn join us to celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary,” stated Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “Elverhøj has at its core a commitment to support art and culture, and preserve Solvang’s special history. And Elverhøj has truly become the link between the past and the future, maintaining the city’s historic roots and cultural authenticity.”  

A private dinner in Solvang followed the reception. The Ambassador’s visit to Solvang included a tour of the Village, a stop for some of the town’s famous Danish food, and talks with local officials.

Links to media coverage:

Recent editorial in the Santa Ynez Valley News about Atterdag College, Solvang’s history and Elverhøj as a keeper of Solvang’s Danish heritage:



Christmas at ElverhojThe museum glows during the holidays, with a 12 foot tree decorated with handmade Danish Christmas ornaments as the focal point. Visitors can often find docents making traditional Danish Christmas paper crafts and learn about holiday traditions.

The Museum Store offers a unique shopping experience with products reflective of the treasured heritage of Denmark and the vibrant art of the present. Affordable, collectable and one-of-a-kind finds fit a range of tastes and ages. Browse through a selection of paper items created by a local papercutting artist. A fine selection of handmade Scandinavian inspired jewelry incorporates Danish coins and vintage stamps into one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets made by a local artists. Amber, silver and pewter jewelry selections are both beautiful and affordable. PlusPlus blocks, the Danish-made construction toy with one shape and endless possibilities, is a favorite with kids and educators alike. The beautifully luxurious selection of silk scarves from Danish artist Katja Bie incorporates historically accurate depictions of Viking Rune stones and motifs as well as royal monograms from Danish castles and designs inspired by storyteller H.C. Andersen. The Ekelund fine Swedish linens are a favorite with local shoppers and visitors alike. Elegant table runners and dishcloths, woven of all-natural materials in an environmentally-conscious way, offer designs that are sophisticated and range from classic to contemporary.


Home | Visiting | Exhibitions | Event Calendar | Classes | News
Photo Gallery | About Us | Solvang History | Brandt-Erichsen
Membership | Contact Info