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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Current and Recent Elverhøj Museum News
News Archive

See also Exhibitions for news about current and upcoming Elverhøj exhibits.

Unmasking the Mysteries of Acrylic with Nancy Yaki

Thursday, February 28 - Saturday, March 2, 10-4 each day

Immerse yourself in an invaluable and empowering three-day workshop exploring the techniques of acrylic painting. This workshop will encourage an investigative and intuitive approach with a focus on the accessibility of basic tools to help you turn what you see and feel into expressive works of art.

Fee is $300/museum members, $325/non-members. Fee Includes instruction, snacks & water, plus Closing Party on last day. Materials and lunch not included. Suggested materials list will be provided.

Workshop takes place at Bethania Lutheran Church Parish Hall

Workshop Schedule

Day 1 - Exploring the Medium
Experiment and discover the range of what you can create with these fast drying and reliable paints on different surfaces. Learn how they can be used transparently, translucently or opaquely.

Day 2 - Getting Comfortable with Color
Color relationships and value intensity will be addressed with the use of a color wheel. Complementary, analogous, and triadic color schemes will be explored throughout the day as well as prepping and under toning a surface.

Day 3 - The Art of Layering + Closing Party
Practice combining different acrylic mediums such as gels, retarders and modeling paste to create depth and add brilliance to your work. Closing party with open discussion and comments.

Reservations limited. Call 805-686-1211 or email jody@elverhoj.org to sign-up.


Adventures in StorytellingADVENTURES IN STORYTELLING


Listen to each author read their book then answer questions. For ages 3-10, but all ages welcome. FREE ADMISSION! 


  • 10am Patricia Eubank - Natalia's Favorite Color
  • 10:30am Grady Hall - On the Trail with Seymour the Snail
  • 11am Robert Byrne - Like Mother Like Daughter
  • 11:30am Ayn Cates Sullivan - Sparkle & The Gift


  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Mosaic Paper Butterfly Craft
  • Rainbow Color Wheel Craft
  • Coloring Station
  • Plus-Plus Makers Table (with free gift while supplies last)

Yummy Baked Goods provided by National Charity League. Visitors are also welcome to bring lunch and enjoy a picnic in the museum garden or gazebo.



Elverhøj Museum of History and Art 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 museum curators who provide insider appreciation for the various experiences and exhibits. Space is limited and excursions sell out early so please act quickly.

The BroadPrivate Tour of The Broad
Tuesday, February 26, 8 am-7:30 pm
$49, depart from the Buellton Rec Center

The Broad holds one of the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art in the world and offers innovative rotating contemporary exhibitions in their beautiful new home in downtown Los Angeles. The visit starts with a one-hour guided tour highlighting key pieces from the collection along with the building’s innovative design. After the tour, enjoy lunch at adjacent restaurant Otium or area eatery, followed by several hours to explore the museum on your own. 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. Hosted by Elverhøj Museum & Buellton Rec Center.

Carrizo Plain National Monument
Thursday, March 14, 2019 8am-7pm
$68, depart from Buellton Rec Center

Visit the unique and beautiful Carrizo Plain, touring Soda Lake and learning about the plants, animals, and geology of the San Joaquin Valley. Local artist John Iwerks will join the group to share his experiences living in Carrizo while painting a wildlife mural of this special natural area. Bring a picnic lunch or purchase food on the way to dine al fresco. Hosted by Wilding Museum & Buellton Rec Center.

Getty CenterArt & Architecture at The Getty Center
Wednesday, April 10, 8am-7:30pm
$40, depart from Solvang Vets Hall

Visit the incredible Getty Center where art and architecture converge high atop the Los Angeles skyline! The visit will include a 45-minute guided Architectural Tour and plenty of time to do lunch and explore on your own. On the drive down enjoy a brief history of The Getty from an Elverhøj Museum of History and Art representative. Hosted by Elverhøj Museum & Solvang Rec Department.

Island Wildlife Cruise
Friday, May 10, 7:15am-4pm
$65, depart from Solvang Vets Hall

This 3-3.5 hour Island Wildlife cruise will take you through the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Islands National Park known to have more marine mammals than any other area on the planet. After, explore the Ventura Harbor Village for a late lunch and stroll the diverse collection of restaurants, boutiques and galleries. Hosted by Wilding Museum & Solvang Rec Department.

RESERVE trips by calling host Rec Department or through their websites:
Buellton Rec Center, 805-688-1086, www.buelltonrec.com
Solvang Rec Department, 805-688-7529, www.cityofsolvang.com/188/Adult-Programs
Reservations cannot be made through the museums.

FOR QUESTIONS regarding trip themes and content contact the museums:
Wildling Museum, 805-688-1082, www.wildlingmuseum.org
Elverhøj Museum of History & Art,  805-686-1211



Christmas at ElverhojThe museum glows during the holidays! A 12 foot Christmas tree is the focal point, decorated with handmade Danish paper ornaments including woven hearts (julehjerter) and paper stars (julestjerner). Visitors can also view a display about Danish Jul traditions, including fun facts about Nisser and their mischievous ways.

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.

The annual Elverhøj Members & Friends Christmas Party was Sunday, December 2, with all of the usual joy and merriment surrounding the Christmas tree. Music was provided by Vince & Ellen Pillow and local girls’ choir Mystique. More than 300 guests attended, consuming nearly 1,000 Danish open-faced sandwiches and many more Danish Christmas cookies. Santa greeted visitors, accompanied by our very own docent Alma Lancaster, dressed in her Danish finest (photo below). Akvavit flowed and local wine and beer was enjoyed by all. What a great kick-off to the holiday season!

Alma and Santa


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:




Elverhøj was voted “Best Art Gallery” by readers of the Santa Ynez Valley News!

Best of the Valley 2018



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:



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.


We invite you to become part of the volunteer family who are the heart, soul and voice of Elverhøj. Come share our warm and lively cultural center and become part of this small museum with a big reach.

Share your skills while getting an insider's view of the Museum and its magic.

Not much free time? Try volunteering two to four hours, once or twice a month. Retired? Elverhøj is a perfect place to share your skills and life's wisdom. Looking for a way to share your interest in art or doing crafts? Talk to us and let’s find a way to share it with our visitors. Are you—or do you know—a student who needs public service credit? Think Elverhøj!

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Docent: Our frontline volunteers who bring Elverhøj alive for visitors.
  • Photographer: help document events, activities and our collections.
  • Jack (or Jill) of All Trades: Help with building and grounds maintenance and improvements.
  • Collections Management: Help us preserve the past for future generations.
  • Education & Outreach: Teach and reach our youngest visitors and local schools.
  • Research: Assist with ongoing projects and exhibits.
  • Special Events: Help with openings, activities, and events.


  • Part time flexible hours.
  • Use your talents and meet new friends!
  • Your chance to explore, inspire, discover, contribute, and have fun.
  • No experience required.

Contact us at (805) 686-1211 or info@elverhoj.org



Danes are curious people. When they immigrated to America they often kept in touch with each other. When a group of Danes found a good place to farm and live they told others to come join them. Such a place is Solvang, California. . . .

Solvang DVDSo begins a DVD screening in Elverhøj’s Solvang Room and available in the Museum Store for $15. Entitled Solvang, Danish Colony in California, it tells the fascinating history of a little town that grew into an internationally-known tourist destination.
Personal interviews bring to life the pioneering Danish families that made Solvang flourish. These early settlers had a great capacity for work, but also for enjoyment. When times were tough they persevered and helped one another. They came to love their new home, but always treasured their Danish background. Priceless old photographs and more contemporary images supplement their rich oral history.
June Christensen, Elverhøj board member, was the executive producer and researcher on this project. People interviewed include: Elise Lindegaard Bates, Thor Brandt-Erichsen, Harlan Burchardi, Elisa Larsen Duus, Erik Gregersen, Leona Ibsen, Regina Iversen, Ivo Nedegaard Jacobsen, Marie Tarnow Jaeger, Florence (Flossie) Jensen, Eiler Johansen, Anker Johnson, Monica Fauerso Kramer, Elna Larsen, Daryl Nielsen, Donald Nielsen, Kathryn Iversen Nielsen, Roger Nielsen, Edna Paaske, Abeline Jensen Petersen, Robert Petersen, William Petersen, Else Jensen Statom, Marian Johnson Walker, Gerda Svendsen Willis, Lucille Wulff, and Viggo Richard Wulff.
An informative narration by videographer Bent Myggen sets these interviews in context. Myggen also did camera work, editing and production. Funding for the DVD project came from the Santa Barbara Foundation, The Valley Foundation, and private donors.
To order the Solvang, Danish Colony in California DVD for $15, email info@elverhoj.org or call the Museum at 805-686-1211. This will be a keepsake to treasure and an imaginative gift for family and friends.


Weddings at ElverhojWEDDINGS AT ELVERHØJ

The historic building and carefully manicured cottage gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for intimate weddings.  The garden with its abundant year-round blooms and corner gazebo creates a lovely setting for any wedding party. The bell in its stately tower can chime, marking the presentation of the newly married couple.

The garden area comfortably accommodates up to 150 guests. Call (805) 686-1211 for information about availability and the reasonable rates. 


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