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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Past Exhibits


Channing Peake, 1910-1989, was an important Southern California artist who owned and operated a working ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley while maintaining an active artistic career. He lived for many years on Rancho Jabali, where he raised Quarter Horses and created spectacular paintings and drawings of the world around him.

Peake not only captured images of ranching, the figure, and landscape, but interpreted them with a modernist sensibility. His early wanderlust through Mexico and Europe and his friendships with gifted artists like Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo and Rico Lebrun served him well — expanding his mastery as a draftsman and colorist. Never wishing to be trapped in one area of painting, he tried everything.

Members of Elverhøj Art Committee and Cheri Peake, his widow and custodian of his estate, visited collectors and looked for works inspired by his years in the Santa Ynez Valley. Collectors are contributing their drawings and paintings for the exhibition, which will also include pages from his notebooks, photos and memorabilia.

In addition to his life as an artist and rancher, Peake was one of the founding members of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and a member of the County Arts Commission. After his passing, the County named the County Administration Building’s exhibition space, The Channing Peake Gallery, in his honor.


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art celebrates the 39-acre Santa Inés Mission Mills property by inviting visual artists inspired by the site to submit work to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming art exhibition, “Art From the Groves | Santa Inés Mission Mills.”

Juror for this group show is award-winning contemporary fine art painter and international juror Robert Burridge. Awards include the $500 Juror's Award, $250 First Place, $150 Second Place, and honorable mentions. Accepted entries will be exhibited in the Museum Gallery June 14 to September 28. Recipients of awards will be announced at the Opening Reception, June 14 from 4 to 6 p.m.

More information.

Elverhoj Around TownPop up galleries in 5 Solvang locations now

Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is on the move with pop up galleries in five locations around the town of Solvang. The displays, called “Elverhøj Around Town,” occupies space at these Solvang businesses: First Street Leather, 1634 Copenhagen Drive; Montecito Bank and Trust, 591 Alamo Pintado Road; Petersen Village Inn, 1576 Mission Drive; Rasmussen's, 1697 Copenhagen Drive; and Solvang Visitors Center, 1639 Copenhagen Drive. More information.


Viking PaulElverhøj Museum of History & Art invites visitors to learn more about Scandinavian ancestors of long ago. The new Vikings! display includes stone age Danish tools, replica pieces, and weapons. Informative text and photographs tell of the Vikings’ role in history and in popular culture. For younger explorers, there is a hands-on display table and handouts about the Viking runic “alphabet.”  

“Viking” is a term used by modern scholars to refer to the Nordic-speaking peoples from southern Scandinavia who raided, traded and settled in Europe and the British Isles roughly between A.D. 793-1066. In addition to being the fierce warriors of popular stereotype, Vikings were sailors, shipbuilders, farmers, master artists, craftsmen, shrewd businessmen, and fearless explorers. Their activities stimulated political changes in Europe and Russia; created lasting new societies in Iceland and Greenland; and led to the discovery of North America 500 years before Columbus.

Viking axeThe museum has had the opportunity to add new artifacts to the existing collection. These items include a Viking era sword, an ornamental replica axe, and jewelry.

Schedule a private tour for your group or class by phoning (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org.

History, someone has said, is the stories we tell ourselves.  In Elverhøj’s Solvang Room, the so-called Scrapbook on the Wall — a series of large panels of photos and text — tells the stories of Solvang from 1910 to the present. A team of talented people have worked together for many months to assemble this special exhibit.
Just as with a personal scrapbook, material for these history panels has come from a variety of sources. We have rummaged through Elverhøj’s records to find historical treasures: oral history tapes, family genealogies, old letters, personal reminiscences, the museum’s extensive photo collection, local newspaper clippings, school board records, event programs, souvenirs and memorabilia, published and unpublished histories of Solvang, student theses on Solvang, and more.

The World at War      Reinventing Solvang

People have shared their personal photo albums, scrapbooks, and stories with us. Organizations have donated information about themselves. Other museums have generously assisted. A UCSB intern and a Cal State researcher contributed some expertise. Even the Danish embassy got involved and furnished photos of Denmark’s royal family.
What you can now see is a series of important vignettes or stories about key milestones in Solvang’s history rather than a complete and definitive history. The history panels start with Danish immigration to America, progress through the founding and growth of Solvang, and in a generally chronological way, guide the viewer through stories about local culture, influential people, and events. You can also read about Solvang cowboys, how the automobile came to the Valley, how Solvang reinvented itself, the three visits from Danish Royalty, and learn about ring riding and hitting the cat out of barrel, among other things.
Funding generously provided by The Valley Foundation, The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, MIS Associates, and Premier Imaging Products.


The Elverhøj Museum of History and Art encourages art exhibition proposal submissions from individual artists and artist groups. The guidelines are intended to help expedite the review of these submissions by insuring that each proposal is as complete as possible. Proposals for exhibitions at the Elverhøj must include both written and visual components.

A copy of the artist proposal guidelines is available for download.

Click to DownloadArtist Exhibition Proposal Procedures PDF (or DOC version)
Click to DownloadArtist GROUP Exhibition Proposal Procedures PDF (or DOC version)

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