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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
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The Elverhøj Museum 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 skilled museum curators who provide insider appreciation for the various experiences and exhibits.

The fall excursions kick off with a return visit to The Broad in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 27. This new 50,000 sq. ft. contemporary art museum houses nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. Bypass the ticket line with a VIP on-site welcome and introduction followed by a self-guided tour. 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 and enjoy lunch on your own. Pick up in Solvang at the Vet’s Hall at 8:30 am. Cost is $49 per person.

On Tuesday, October 11 visit the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard. Perfectly situated on the Oxnard Channel Islands Harbor, sits a 500 year-old collection of exquisite seascape paintings and stunning ship models within the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. In addition to viewing the 70-plus original paintings, including some of the best examples of the maritime genre on display and the largest collection of museum-quality ship models on the West Coast, explore the special exhibition Designs from the Deep: The Architecture of Shells. Enjoy lunch on your own at many restaurants on the harbor. Pick up at the Vets Hall in Solvang at 10 am. Fee is $33 per person.

On Thursday, November 10, explore the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, where art and culture are set amidst 150 acres of breathtaking gardens featuring over 14,000 different species of plants.  In addition to a Gutenberg Bible and famous European portraits, special exhibitions include “Geographies of Wonder: The Evolution of the National Parks” and “Gardens, Art, & Commerce in Chinese Woodblock Prints.”  Lunch on your own at one of several garden cafés. Pick up at the Buellton Rec Center at 10 am. Fee is $59 per person.

The final fall excursion on Thursday, December 1 includes two Pasadena locations. Experience the wonders of Descanso Gardens, home to North America’s largest camellia collection and many rare and beautiful plants from around the world. After lunch on your own in Old Pasadena, enjoy the Norton Simon Museum with its astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century along with Southeast Asian art dating back 2,000 years. Special exhibits include Picasso lithographs and Van Gogh’s Bedroom. Pick up at the Buellton Rec Center at 8am. Fee is $59 per person.

Space is limited and excursions sell out quickly. Reservations can be made online at buelltonrec.com, or phone Buellton Rec at (805) 688-1086, Solvang Rec at (805) 688-7529, or stop by either office. 



June 18, 2016: On the evening of the first full Moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, the Elverhøj Museum celebrated with one hundred and sixty-five supporters of the Museum, whose mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts. The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art held its annual Solstice Sundowner benefit at the beautiful lakeside setting of a vineyard in the Ballard Canyon area. Fire entertainers provided entertainment under a star-filled sky on this unique full-Moon Solstice which will not occur again for 19 years.

Read complete Santa Ynez Valley News article about the event by Mary Ann Norbom, with photo slide show by Eric Isaacs/emiphoto.com. One of his photos is below.

Solstice Sundowner 2016


Sunday March 13 Concert, 7:00 PM

The award-winning Danish choir, considered one of the best girls’ choirs in the world performed in Solvang with the internationally renowned Danish pianist Ms. Katrine Gislinge, Cello Player Yoshika Masuda and conducted by Anne Marie Granau.

The choir, comprised of 33 girls ages 14 to 16, came here between performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The homogenous voices of these highly trained girls, accompanied by a world-class soloist and cello player was welcomed by a large audience which filled the Bethania Church March 13, 2016.

The program presented on the Choir’s California tour is the international debut of the flourishing collaboration between Ms. Gislinge and the Copenhagen Girls’ Choir. The artistic collaboration connects the musicianship of a top soloist with young talents representing a unique high-level musical education. The choir is very proud to present this for the first time in the US. Notably, their performance in Solvang featured a World Premiere performance of a spring piece for piano and voice written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen, professor emeritus in composition. His compositions are performed and recorded worldwide.

Copenhagen Girls Choir

About the Copenhagen Girls Choir

Through a strong focus on educating children and youth in the choir tradition, this elite ensemble covers a broad repertoire encompassing modern compositions, classical composers and pop songs without losing its musical spark and infectious enthusiasm. The concert, will feature a world premiere: a spring piece for piano and equal voices written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen (b. 1958), Professor Emeritus in composition. His compositions are performed and recorded worldwide, including a recent premier at Carnegie Hall.

The concert also features piano and choral music, both together and separately. The repertoire is French choral and piano music, among others Debussy’s beautiful piece “Salut Printemps.” In addition there will be Danish choral music by composers such as Carl Nielsen and Per Nørgård.

The acclaimed Girls Choir has its home at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium, the Copenhagen Municipal Choir School. Founded in 1973, the choir is under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Benedikte. It is the resident choir at Helligaandskirken in central Copenhagen (Church of the Holy Spirit). The connection between court, church and school is a centuries old tradition in Denmark and a tradition which the Copenhagen Girls Choir proudly maintains.

The choir recently won four gold level diplomas at international choir competitions in the Czech Republic, Austria and Portugal. Chief conductor Anne Marie Granau graduated from the Royal College of Music in London and the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen. She was assistant conductor at the Royal Danish Opera, and has conducted the Copenhagen Philharmonic, The Royal Danish Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Danish National Vocal Ensemble among others.

Elverhøj has arranged for the Copenhagen Girls Choir to include this stop in Solvang while touring the west coast, including arranging all the details of the visit such as food, housing, and a museum and town tour. Cultural exchanges like this visit are a direct result of Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen-Bates’ ties with the Danish Embassy.


Musings about Elverhøj when it was the Brandt-Erichsen family home
By Nancy Brandt-Erichsen

Editor’s Note: The historic hand-crafted structure that houses Elverhøj Museum was the dream home of Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha (Patt) Mott. He was an internationally recognized painter and sculptor and she was an accomplished painter and art teacher. The Brandt-Erichsens spent more than three years building their home and, in1954, moved in with children Jean, Thor and David. Nancy became part of the family when she married Thor in 1961.

NancyI love coming back to Elverhøj! It always brings a flood of memories. I first visited the family here in 1956 as a teenager when Thor and I started dating. The home continues to be a source of memories of the past, and a current place of family gatherings and learning for our descendants.

Each room holds memories of earlier days, when it was the family home. The kitchen still has the welcoming warmth that evokes memories of family meals and conversations. The table and benches are much as they were then. We all loved smørrebrød (Danish open face sandwiches). Patt had all the makings! She bought leverpostej at Hanly’s and pumpernickel from one of the local bakeries. When Thor and I came to visit she always had pickled herring, cheeses, pickled beets, and sometimes ham or beef. Trays of makings were set out on the table and each proceeded to make their favorite creation. The table was part in the sun, part in the shade and we could hear the birds and enjoy her lovely garden. I took my lunch to the garden on a recent visit to the Museum and I found myself lost in time.

The family living room was large by standards of the 1950s. In the front corner was a lovely baby grand piano. Patt loved music and Jean played several instruments. A number of events and concerts were held in the living room where Museum visitors are now greeted on a daily basis.

Original living room

The arts thrived in the Brandt-Erichsen home. What a busy place the studio was! In 1953 when Viggo passed, Patt continued her painting, drawing and community classes, spending hours on her own work as well as teaching. There were tables down the sides and center of the studio, with a number of still life set ups. Around the edges were pieces of Viggo’s sculptures in various stages of completeness. Patt had shelves and drawers with art supplies, and paintings on easels, on tables, and in piles. A studio sink allowed for cleaning brushes and other art materials.

“Elverhoy” (the American name of the home) has always been a place where music and the arts flourished. Our family finds great pride and joy in knowing that, as a museum, nearly a quarter million people have entered by Viggo’s handcarved front door to find a vibrant arts community and a thriving historical and cultural home.


New Year, New Inspiration

EstherWith the promise of spring just around the corner, we look forward to 2016 with renewed energy. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors and the Staff of Elverhøj Museum I would like to express deep gratitude for your many contributions to Elverhøj. Your year-round support, participation, and generosity are much needed and much appreciated, and have a tremendous impact in our Museum, the community and beyond.

While in some ways 2015 seems well behind us, many of the upcoming events, activities and exhibitions had their beginnings last year. In March of 2015, about three dozen Danish cultural representatives from around the U.S. gathered at my invitation for a 3-day forum in Solvang. This network of people, known as Cultural Frontrunners, was led by Danish Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen and facilitated by the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC and the Consulate in New York City. Guest speakers, workshops and dialogue covered an inspiring range of topics; ranging from new Nordic cuisine to international diplomacy and the arts with the central theme of Danish culture. Inspiration and collaboration grew along with friendships that span the continent and beyond.

One outcome of the Cultural Frontrunners meeting was the establishment of a new series of occasional Elverhøj events called “Danish Modern.” The series launched last spring with an evening of imaginative and occasionally irreverent fun, celebrating Danish food and spirits. Several Danish Modern events take place soon. A March performance by the world renowned Copenhagen Girls Choir at Bethania Lutheran Church, facilitated by contacts at the Danish Embassy and in Denmark, is sure to be a memorable experience for all ages. This is a fine example of the cultural exchange that continues between Solvang and Denmark. And it’s free to all! Then there is a culinary workshop focused on smørrebrød, the versatile Danish open-face sandwich. Get your friends together for a fun and flavorful evening and learn more about Nordic cuisine, both traditional and modern.

Looking towards summer, the Solstice Sundowner benefit party is another Danish Modern event as we celebrate the year’s longest day Danish style while raising funds to support the museum. Tickets for this event sells out quickly, so be sure to get your reservations in early.

At the Museum, attendance continues to grow each year, driven in part by the continued success of our art exhibitions and educational programming. The board of directors and staff work hard to keep the historic building maintained, safe and efficient for the 20,000 visitors who come annually. As Executive Director, I work with a tremendous team of volunteers and staff. We thoroughly enjoy creating a space where the rich talent of the Valley can be on exhibit and enjoyed by many. We often reflect on the past of our institution with appreciation for the family who gave their home to become a museum. We marvel at the positive impacts of Elverhøj in our community, and are inspired by the continued generosity and dedication of our members and supporters.

All in all, it’s shaping up to be another very active and exciting year at Elverhøj. I look forward to seeing you as the year unfolds!



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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