See also Exhibitions for news about current and upcoming Elverhøj exhibits.
Elverhøj celebrated the history and cultural roots of Solvang at the Living History Festival, September 20 and 21. Over 1,000 visitors poured through the doors of the museum on Danish Days weekend to observe artisans, storytellers and craftspeople demonstrating their skills and entertaining visitors throughout the weekend event.
“There were hands-on activities for all ages and lots of variety,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “Artisans demonstrating woodworking, blacksmithing, and Viking chain mail construction joined with some of our visitors’ favorite crafters showcasing lace making, Danish papirklip (papercutting), and fiber arts.”
Additionally, there were demonstrations of weaving and spinning. Skilled craftsmen instructed visitors about the centuries-old fiber arts of Viking knot making which incorporates into jewelry design.
Rick Marzullo paid a visit to the museum gallery and left tiny pieces of cut paper behind after his demonstration of the ancient and painstaking art of papirklip. Bobbin lace makers created samples of their intricate work and offered guests an opportunity to try their hand at this centuries-old art.
Blacksmith Hans Duus pounded out metal pieces at his anvil in the garden gazebo while woodworkers crafted wooden bowls and vessels from their spinning lathes.
Docents clad in colorful Danish folk costumes made woven paper hearts and stars, a time-honored Danish Christmas tradition. Storyteller Randall McGee, always a Festival favorite, performed spoken stories in the shade of the Elverhøj grounds, posing as world famous author Hans Christian Andersen.
Elverhøj has published a new book, Spirit of Solvang, drawing on photos and historical information from its archives. Like the exhibit of the same name, the 56-page book is replete with engaging black and white images of Solvang. These 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. Both the exhibit and the book celebrate Solvang’s Centennial by paying tribute to the rich cultural history and heritage of its 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
So begins a newly-produced DVD now 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.
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.