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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
 
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See also Exhibitions for news about current and upcoming Elverhøj exhibits.


SOLVANG’S FIRST COMPLETE HISTORICAL BOOK
NOW AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT ELVERHØJ

220 page, full-color, hardcover book
Available for curbside pickup or shipping
$39.95

Spirit of Solvang book

People tend to be curious about Solvang, this Danish town in the rural Santa Ynez Valley. Curious about the people. Curious about the culture and its authenticity. Curious about how it all came to be.

This book chronicles the challenges and triumphs of this Danish community that grew, thrived, and evolved while most faded into obscurity. Although Solvang was founded more than a century ago, there has been a lack of complete and accurate information regarding the town’s history and evolution. Until now there had been no published written or photographic documentation of one of the most vital Danish-American communities in the United States. The book is authored by researcher Ann Dittmer and Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates with a foreword by Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States, Lone Dencker Wisborg.

Solvang history spread
Solvang Main Street (sample book spread - click image for larger version)

Solvang's second windmillMore than 10 years of research and development went into the project. Rich with photographs, the 220-page hardbound book incorporates extensive use of photographic resources, artifacts and oral histories, and maps of early Solvang. The full-color publication includes information about changes to the social, cultural, agricultural, architectural and economic landscape of Solvang and involves the contributions of a great many individuals who volunteered countless hours.

For more information, to purchase phone (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org or use this ORDER FORM.

See media coverage:

 

E-Series
THIS DAY IN SOLVANG HISTORY

Join us as we celebrate moments in Solvang history in a new E-Series and learn about this Danish village nestled in the foothills of California’s Central Coast. Visitors to Solvang today are welcomed by a picturesque downtown of Old World style half-timber buildings and windmills. Yet the story behind these facades is a surprising one that dates back more than a century, when the Danish colony was established as a home for a traditional folk school.

Email info@elverhoj.org to be on the list to receive these occasional emails. We promise not to share your information.

Here are links to each date in the series:


ELVERHØJ IN THE NEWS

Forbes

In Forbes, May 11, 2020, appeared the article In Tiny Solvang, California, Rembrandt Continues Teaching Valuable Lessons.

Two front page articles in 2019 featured our most recent Elverhøj exhibit: The Santa Ynez Valley Star published a story August 6th: Eyvind Earle, John Cody works featured in “Crossing Paths.” The Santa Ynez Valley News published a story July 25: Elverhoj Museum in Solvang to debut “Crossing Paths” exhibit, featuring artist Eyvind Earle & John Cody.

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.

 

CHRISTMAS PARTY FESTIVITIES

The annual Member & Friends Christmas party on Sunday December 8th was a festive evening as nearly 300 guests enjoyed smørrebrød, Danish Christmas cookies, music and merriment! Our volunteers served almost 1,000 Danish open-faced sandwiches, made by our tireless cuisine crew earlier that day.

sandwich makers

Platters of Christmas cookies disappeared as guests enjoyed music, dancing and singing throughout the night. No Danish Christmas party is complete without multi-rings of generations dancing around the tree and skåls with friends and family. What a fabulous way to kick off the holiday season!

dancing around Christmas tree

 

ELVERHØJ VOTED BEST ART GALLERY

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

Best of the Valley 2018

 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

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.

Featuring:

  • 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

 

DVD CHRONICLES SOLVANG HISTORY

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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