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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
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Saturday September 16 - 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday September 17 - 10 am to 4 pm


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art celebrates Solvang’s history and cultural roots at the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday September 16 and 187. Artisans, storytellers and craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors. This free event is held in conjunction with town’s Danish Days.

“There will be hands-on activities for all ages and the Danish Christmas Corner with gifts and accessories rooted in Danish traditions,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “Guests can make a cut paper decoration, get creative with Viking runes stamps, weave a paper star, dress up and snap a selfie with a Viking, and shop for a Danish Christmas keepsake.”

Viking selrie station
Viking selfie station

Bobbin lace makingInside the Museum, exhibits come to life with demonstrations. Bobbin lace makers will hand weave intricate designs and offer guests an opportunity to try this centuries-old art. Docents clad in colorful Danish folk costumes will be creating Danish Christmas crafts such as woven paper hearts and paper stars. Artisans will be crafting wooden bobbins for lace making, weaving textiles and Viking jewelry.

Storyteller Randall McGee, always a Festival favorite, will perform as world famous author Hans Christian Andersen both days at 1 pm. On Saturday morning, papirklip artist Rick James Marzullo will demonstrate the Danish folk art of papercutting that has earned him international acclaim. Rounding out the weekend of free activities are docent-led tours of the museum’s historical, cultural, and art exhibits.

Randal McGeeHistory, heritage and art on display year-round at Elverhøj. The Museum occupies the former residence of one of Solvang’s most artistic families. The historic handcrafted structure, located two blocks south of the village center at 1624 Elverhoy Way, is the former dream home of artists Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. In 1949 they began building in a style derived from the large Danish farmhouses of 18th century Jutland. Many elements of Scandinavian architecture were incorporated into the design. Ornamental wrought ironwork, sculptures, a carved redwood main entry door, and hand painted wall panels are just some of the permanent imprints of this talented family.

Since 1988, Elverhøj Museum has been welcoming and educating visitors. Among the permanent exhibits is the Solvang Room which presents the town’s history with photos, video, artifacts and models. The Immigrant Room displays artifacts from a rural one-room Danish home as it might have looked in the 1870s when Danish emigration to the United States was at its peak. The diorama cottage houses small scale buildings depicting 1920s Solvang with its mix of architectural styles that did not yet include the Danish designs adapted in the 1950s.



Seyburn Zorthian

SATURDAY OCTOBER 7, 2 to 5 pm: Workshop: Beginning Drawing
Drawing From the Heart with exhibiting artist Seyburn Zorthian
Workshop held in Zorthian’s studio at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard in Solvang
$10/member, $15 non-member
Limited to 8, pre-registration required
(805) 686-1211 or info@elverhoj.org

Dug Uyesaka

SATURDAY OCTOBER 21, 3 to 5 pm: Workshop: Building Collage for Beginners
Ripped and Torn with exhibiting artist/teacher Dug Uyesaka
$10/member, $15 non-member
Limited to 10, pre-registration required
(805) 686-1211 or info@elverhoj.org



Spirit of SolvangThe 56-page book Spirit of Solvang is replete with engaging black and white images of this Danish colony in California. The carefully restored images document Solvang’s story from its founding to its transition to a Danish-themed downtown. Informative text gives readers an overall view of Solvang’s development, as well as fascinating tidbits of local history. The book pays tribute to the rich cultural history and heritage of the town’s Danish pioneers.

Elverhøj is very grateful to Paul Roark, who expertly and lovingly restored the photographs; to Joan Mitchell, who wrote and edited text; to Ann Dittmer, who tirelessly did research and checked facts; and to the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and Nancy Brandt-Erichsen for granting funds for printing and design expenses. Thanks are also due to Museum volunteers, especially the History Committee and Photo ID Committee (a.k.a. the “White Glove Gang”). Over the years they have expanded the Museum collection by organizing, identifying, and conserving numerous images.

The book is available for purchase in the Museum Store for $17.50. Special orders are welcomed. Please phone (805) 686-1211 or email 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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