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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Past Exhibits

August 20 - November 6

Manna from Heaven

Artistic inspiration is the gift that keeps giving for artists Robert Burridge, Jim McWilliams and Bob Nichols. The relationship between these accomplished artists is a connection that feeds their souls, creates bonds and ideas, and provided the inspiration for their group exhibition, debuting Saturday August 20 at Elverhøj Museum of History and Art.

Burridge and McWilliams cut their teeth at a time when they were collaborating with artists like Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman. Joined together in the goal to create art happenings which sought to seamlessly incorporate art into the everyday experiences of life, they were actively encouraging a cultural shift that continues to inspire their work today. Bob Nichols has made a career of exploring the making of marks and symbolism, from ancient rock paintings to the teapots of Yixing.

The concept behind this exhibition is based in a conversation of activism which is intended to provoke thought and a broader global vision. Along with his work on display, Nichols has created several dozen bowls which will be available in the Museum Store at Elverhøj. Proceeds from the sales go to the Santa Barbara County Foodbank. This spirit of exploration, awareness and a more far-reaching message through art occurs naturally for the exhibiting artist.

All three “Manna” men began their art careers in the sixties. They favored the use of experimental, innovative and unusual ideas. Although they work in very different mediums, their ability to blaze trails with art is their common ground. Their pioneering approach to making art derives from an endless and inherent exploration of new ideas which they attribute to finding “manna from heaven.”

Robert, Jim, and Bob
Robert Burridge, Jim McWilliams and Bob Nichols

They have a collective 150 years of experience working in the arts. What may seem left of center to some comes naturally to Robert and Jim and Bob. While Robert Burridge finds his inspiration in paint, teaching others is what drives his art. Jim McWilliams dabbles with graphics and technology, yet his passion is to create awareness. Bob Nichols’ chosen medium is clay and yet his conceptual search for a “sense of place” is ongoing.

Exhibit programming includes “Robert Burridge: Dialogue & Demonstration” (Tuesday, September 13), Artist Talk with Bob Nichols: “A Career with Clay” (September 24), a two day workshop in abstract painting and collage with Robert Burridge (October 5 & 6), and a drop-in clay art workshop (October 22).

The exhibition will remain on view through November 6, 2016.


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is on the move with a pop-up gallery at the Montecito Bank and Trust, 591 Alamo Pintado Road.


Viking PaulElverhøj Museum of History & Art invites visitors to learn more about Scandinavian ancestors of long ago. The new Vikings! display includes stone age Danish tools, replica pieces, and weapons. Informative text and photographs tell of the Vikings’ role in history and in popular culture. For younger explorers, there is a hands-on display table and handouts about the Viking runic “alphabet.”  

“Viking” is a term used by modern scholars to refer to the Nordic-speaking peoples from southern Scandinavia who raided, traded and settled in Europe and the British Isles roughly between A.D. 793-1066. In addition to being the fierce warriors of popular stereotype, Vikings were sailors, shipbuilders, farmers, master artists, craftsmen, shrewd businessmen, and fearless explorers. Their activities stimulated political changes in Europe and Russia; created lasting new societies in Iceland and Greenland; and led to the discovery of North America 500 years before Columbus.

Viking axeThe museum has had the opportunity to add new artifacts to the existing collection. These items include a Viking era sword, an ornamental replica axe, and jewelry.

Schedule a private tour for your group or class by phoning (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org.

History, someone has said, is the stories we tell ourselves.  In Elverhøj’s Solvang Room, the so-called Scrapbook on the Wall — a series of large panels of photos and text — tells the stories of Solvang from 1910 to the present. A team of talented people have worked together for many months to assemble this special exhibit.
Just as with a personal scrapbook, material for these history panels has come from a variety of sources. We have rummaged through Elverhøj’s records to find historical treasures: oral history tapes, family genealogies, old letters, personal reminiscences, the museum’s extensive photo collection, local newspaper clippings, school board records, event programs, souvenirs and memorabilia, published and unpublished histories of Solvang, student theses on Solvang, and more.

The World at War      Reinventing Solvang

People have shared their personal photo albums, scrapbooks, and stories with us. Organizations have donated information about themselves. Other museums have generously assisted. A UCSB intern and a Cal State researcher contributed some expertise. Even the Danish embassy got involved and furnished photos of Denmark’s royal family.
What you can now see is a series of important vignettes or stories about key milestones in Solvang’s history rather than a complete and definitive history. The history panels start with Danish immigration to America, progress through the founding and growth of Solvang, and in a generally chronological way, guide the viewer through stories about local culture, influential people, and events. You can also read about Solvang cowboys, how the automobile came to the Valley, how Solvang reinvented itself, the three visits from Danish Royalty, and learn about ring riding and hitting the cat out of barrel, among other things.
Funding generously provided by The Valley Foundation, The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, MIS Associates, and Premier Imaging Products.


The Elverhøj Museum of History and Art encourages art exhibition proposal submissions from individual artists and artist groups. The guidelines are intended to help expedite the review of these submissions by insuring that each proposal is as complete as possible. Proposals for exhibitions at the Elverhøj must include both written and visual components.

A copy of the artist proposal guidelines is available for download.

Click to DownloadArtist Exhibition Proposal Procedures PDF (or DOC version)
Click to DownloadArtist GROUP Exhibition Proposal Procedures PDF (or DOC version)

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