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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Past Exhibits

November 18, 2017 - January 28, 2018
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Winter arrives early at Elverhøj with the debut of the holiday exhibition, “Eyvind Earle│Winter.”  The work of this master painter and designer will be celebrated with an Opening Reception on Saturday November 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited. There is no charge for admission.

Earle was an acclaimed California artist, author and illustrator noted for his landscape painting and contribution to the background illustration and styling of classic Disney animated films like “Sleeping Beauty” and “Lady and the Tramp.” He is also famous for his Christmas and holiday greeting cards, creating over 800 designs during the 57 year period between 1938 and 1995.

Eyvind Earl - Winter Barns

The Elverhøj gallery will be showcasing serigraphs and paintings that are the basis of Earle’s famous Christmas cards. This is a special opportunity for collectors as limited edition serigraphs will be available for purchase. To further share Earle’s work, books and some of those famous cards will be offered in the Elverhøj Museum Store.

Eyvind Earl - Winter OakEyvind Earle (1916-2000) was born in New York but raised in Hollywood. An accomplished artist from an early age, he landed a job as an assistant sketch artist for United Artists while still in his teens. From the time of his solo show in France at the young age of 14, Earle’s fame grew steadily.

“I never planned to be involved with Christmas card designing,” said Earle. “It simply happened as a means of survival. To me, every day is Christmas. Every creation is divine. Cover the ugliest run-down shack with snow, and it becomes a magic vision of purity.”

Earle’s career has encompassed many different fields. By the early 1950s Earle was working as a background painter for Walt Disney Studios, where he contributed to classic animated feature films. He also painted the dioramas for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and in 2015 was awarded the status of being a “Disney Legend,” sharing that title with other great talents such as Johnny Depp, George Lucas and others.

Returning to painting full time in 1966, Earle created extensive watercolors, oil, sculptures and drawings. In 1974, he began making limited edition serigraphs. “I do not try to copy an oil painting,” said Earle, “but rather I create a new work of art using the silk screening process.”

For a ten year period between 1968-1978 Earle resided in Solvang. “The imagery derived from themes of the Santa Ynez Valley are unmistakable in many of Earle’s paintings and serigraphs,” said Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “He found inspiration in the natural beauty of the California Central Coast.”

Exhibition programming includes a screening of the animated short “The Story of Christmas,” with animation by Earle and a musical score by Roger Wagner on Friday December 8 at 7 pm.  A discussion will follow. Doors open at 6:30 for the free event. A Panel Talk with special guests takes place on Saturday January 27 at 3 pm. “Eyvind’s Influence in Animation and Film” will be the topic of discussion. A Social Hour will immediately follow.

The exhibition remains on display through January 28, 2018

February 3 - April 29, 2018

This exhibit celebrates art about words in unique and unexpected forms. Books will hang from the ceiling, crawl up the wall, cover table tops and fill the imagination. Some are nonmaterial—made of light and shadow—some pop up, and others play with layers, both textual and textural. Viewers will delight in exploring the many ways that artists probe the definition of what constitutes a book, searching for new forms—and de-forms—of this familiar object.  

May 5 - August 5, 2018

Nancy YakiArtist Nancy Yaki began her Roadside Series as a study of landscapes while driving to and from work. It is primarily a celebration of the beauty of expansive landscapes with a focus on location, light, and perspective. It is also a statement about the hyper-distractive digital world we inhabit and the importance of occupying the present, allowing imaginations to dance and play with the physical environment. Art exhibits include programming such as special presentations, panel discussions, film screening and workshops.


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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