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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
Past Exhibits

April 27-August 4

The museum celebrates fashion as an art form in a new exhibition, “The Art of Dress.”  Works by twenty artists illustrate the range of interpretations of the seemingly simple word “dress,” from an article of clothing to the act of adorning oneself or decorating a room.

“From classic dress to unwearable garments made of contemporary materials, we invite the public to come experience the connections of shape and volume, color and pattern, design and materials—both traditional and repurposed,” says Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. 

Visitors will find a fascinating range of interpretations presented throughout the installation. Tailored projects incorporate alternate materials. A wedding ensemble, informed by the designer’s heritage, reinterprets the traditional form. Radical design is exemplified in objects created by hand without the use of traditional sewing. One section features small-scale installations and 2-dimensional works that will leave you smiling.

Exhibit organizer and artist Georganne Alex explains, “The works of art, design and fashion on view have been selected to complement one other and encourage visitors to make connections between different approaches, techniques and aesthetics.”

Whether you view the works as an artist, anthropologist, historian, or someone who stands perplexed at the closet wondering what to wear, the exhibit offers a chance to contemplate the things and emotions we use to wrap ourselves.

The exhibit features designs by artists that live and work on the West Coast and in Paris, France: Georganne Alex, Quoï Alexander, Carole Coduti, Jess Conti, Xiuhong Feng, Colleen M. Kelly, Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Veronica Walmsley Lambert, RT Livingston, Margaret Matson, Virginia McCracken, Syd McCutcheon, Susan Owens, Tara Patrick, Linda Pearl, Keith Puccinelli, Gwen Samuels, Susan Tibbles, Laura Wilkinson, and Sara Woodburn.

Further celebrating the “Art of Dress,” Elverhøj will be hosting workshops in textile printmaking and indigo dye processes. Closing weekend activities include a curator-led gallery walk and talk followed by the Last Call Reception. Follow the Museum at Facebook and Instagram to stay current on these scheduled community events and more.

“The Art of Dress” will remain on display through August 4.

The Art of Dress
Click image for larger version.


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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