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A highlight of the reopening of the museum is the return of the gallery exhibition, “Legacy of Decency: Rembrandt, Jews and Danes.” A heralded collection of 21 etchings by Dutch Master Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) is paired with displays about the Danish WWII rescue of their Jewish population.

This timely exhibition links people, time and place through artwork and action with a legacy created by neighbors who cared for, and about, one another.

Rembrandt Legacy of Decency

“This is a rare opportunity to get a close-up view of the exquisite work,” said Elverhøj Executive Director and exhibit curator Esther Jacobsen Bates. “The humanity Rembrandt expressed in his artwork continues to resonate today, nearly 400 years later.”

Rembrandt’s achievements as an etcher are characterized by the new and innovative techniques he introduced to printmaking. His legacy of decency is displayed in the emotional and psychological depth given to his Jewish subjects: expressive faces, dramatic body language, and bold use of shadow and light combine with his mastery as a printmaker.

The concept of caring is also found in janteloven – the unofficial Danish law for “no one is better than the other.” The janteloven principle that everyone is accepted and equal plays a key part in Danish culture and mentality as was exemplified by the remarkable and uplifting story of the Danish WWII resistance. Posters from the Danish Museum of Resistance in Copenhagen tell about a few intense weeks in 1943 when a “living wall of people” raised up and rescued over 95% of the Jewish population in Denmark from the Holocaust. 

The art is from the collection of Howard and Fran Berger, gift to Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. “Legacy of Decency” will remain on display through June 2021.


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.


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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