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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Past Exhibits

May 27 - August 20, 2017
Neil Goodman | Contemporary sculpture

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Elverhøj Museum of History and Art presents the west coast debut of artist Neil Goodman. His contemporary sculpture is on display in “Looking West,” a new art exhibition opening Saturday May 27 with a reception from 4 to 6 pm. The public is invited to join the celebration and meet the artist. Refreshments will be served; there is no charge for admission.

For the past nine years, Goodman has divided time between his home and studio in Los Alamos, CA and his studio and career as professor of fine arts in the Chicago area. This exhibition marks both a more permanent move west to Los Alamos as well as Goodman’s first solo exhibition in California. 

For this exhibit, Goodman has constructed sculptures of bronze and fiberglass. The two central pieces focus on one of his major bodies of work—the vertical column. At 11 feet tall, these pieces are also the largest and most ambitious sculptures of this series to date.

“My sculptures have been chapters of my life, measuring success and documenting growth,” says Goodman. “They are three-dimensional journals.”

It takes a lot of muscle to produce the large sculptures. The process is strenuous and labor intensive. “The work initially seems minimal and subtle, yet the sculptures reveal themselves slowly,” says Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “Each resting point is counterbalanced by its mirrored and repositioned top, creating movement as well as stability.”

Looking West

The tools of Goodman’s trade include a sturdy welder, a grinder, clamps, a hoist, and a good set of hand tools. He sculpts with both the forms and the space of spaces that exist within and around them.

Born in Hammond, Indiana in 1953, Goodman was educated at Indiana University and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where he began casting his works in bronze and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. Subsequently he co-founded the art department at Indiana University Northwest and taught for more than 30 years until his retirement just this month.

Goodman has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, and has had more than 30 one-person exhibitions throughout the country. He has permanent large-scale pieces at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, and at public and private locations throughout the Midwest.  His work has been reviewed in “Art Forum,” “Art in America,” “Art News,” and “Sculpture Magazine.” His sculpture has been commissioned and collected by museums, corporations, convention centers, parks, synagogues, universities, and private collectors.

Exhibit programming includes a 3-D workshop with the artist on Saturday July 15. Pre-registration is required: (805) 686-1211. A conversation with the artist takes place on Saturday August 5 at 4 pm with a social hour immediately following. “Beginning to End” is the topic of an artist demonstration and closing reception on Saturday August 19 from 3 to 5 pm.


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is on the move with a pop-up gallery at the Montecito Bank and Trust, 591 Alamo Pintado Road.


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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