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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.

Saturday September 15 - 10 to 5
Sunday September 16 - 10 to 4

bobbin lace makingElverhøj celebrates Solvang’s history and cultural roots at the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday September 15 and 16. Artisans, storytellers and craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors. This free event is held in conjunction with the 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 paper craft decorations, get creative with Viking runes stamps, weave paper stars, dress up like Vikings and snap selfies, and shop for Danish Christmas keepsakes.”

Inside 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.

Storyteller Randall McGee, always a Festival favorite, will perform as world famous author Hans Christian Andersen both days at 1 pm. 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.

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.

Along with rotating contemporary exhibitions in the gallery, Elverhøj features a variety of permanent exhibits that address Solvang’s Danish heritage and early history, the Danish emigration to America, and various Danish artifacts. In the museum garden is a diorama cottage depicting Solvang in the 1920s and more photographs showing the early years of Solvang’s founding.

Saturday, September 15

10 am to 5pm - Viking Jewelry Making
11 am to 3 pm - Bobbin Lace Making
11:30 am to 12:30 pm - Papirklip artist Rick Marzullo
1 pm - Storytelling with Randel McGee as H.C. Andersen
1 to 3 pm - Danish Christmas paper crafts
2 to 5 pm - Hardanger Embroidery

Sunday, September 16

10 am to noon - Viking Jewelry Making
11 am to 3 pm - Bobbin Lace Making
1 to 3 pm - Danish Christmas paper crafts
1 pm - Storytelling with Randel McGee as H.C. Andersen
1 to 4 pm - Hardanger Embroidery



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.

Our mission lives in the community
and beyond....


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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