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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
 
CURRENT and UPCOMING EXHIBITS
at the ELVERHØJ MUSEUM
Past Exhibits


February 29 - May 24
LEGACY OF DECENCY: REMBRANDT, JEWS & DANES

Debuting February 29 is a powerful new exhibition featuring a series of etchings by Dutch Master Rembrandt. The art is are paired with displays about the Danish WWII resistance and rescue of their Jewish population. This exhibition links people, time and place through artwork and action with a legacy created by neighbors who cared for, and about, one another.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) was an innovative and prolific master and is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. He lived and worked in Amsterdam, a city renowned for its welcoming spirit towards the thousands of Jewish migrants and refugees who survived the Inquisition and had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.

Rembrandt self portrait
Rembrandt self-portrait

The 21 prints on view highlight the artist’s nuanced relationship with Amsterdam’s Jewish citizens. They are detailed and intimate, much like Rembrandt’s relationship with his subjects, many of whom were neighbors and friends. The series of small prints present a powerful message and encourage the viewer to get up close and engage with the people depicted.

Rembrandt’s legacy as an etcher is characterized by the new and innovative techniques he introduced to printmaking. He broke with longstanding, traditional depictions of Jews in biblical narratives. Rembrandt’s legacy of decency is displayed in his art as he added emotional and psychological depth to his subjects through expressive faces, dramatic body language, and bold use of shadow and light.

The humanity Rembrandt expressed in his artwork resonates today, nearly 400 years later. This concept is found in the unofficial Danish law—jantiloven—for "no one is better than the other." The jantiloven concept that everyone is accepted and equal plays a key part in Danish culture and mentality as was exemplified by the remarkable story of the Danish WWII resistance. During the Nazi Occupation, over 95% of the Jewish population in Denmark was rescued by their fellow countrymen.

The founding of Solvang was based upon that deeply held Danish principle of cooperation. More than 100 years later, the close-knit community continues to thrive and support its neighbors.

The Rembrandts are from the collection of Howard and Fran Berger, gift to Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. The exhibition remains on display through May 24.

More programming details coming soon.


Elverhoj Around TownELVERHØJ AROUND TOWN

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.


VIKINGS INVADE ELVERHØJ!

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.


SOLVANG ROOM EXHIBIT
 
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.


PROPOSALS FOR ART GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

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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