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The History of Solvang, the Heritage of Denmark  
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See also Exhibitions for news about current and upcoming Elverhøj exhibits.


The Queen of Arts Show and Sale returns to Elverhøj Museum of History and Art on November 8th and 9th. For two days the event reigns over the gallery and garden in a celebration featuring maker-designed goods, hand-crafted and sold by the artists.

Inspired surroundings, fun and food are paired with artfully crafted goods by 34 regional artists. The show and sale opens with a sip and shop on Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and continues Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. There is no charge for admission.

“There is a great variety of imaginative work with a wide range of prices,” said Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “Shoppers are invited to meet the artists and peruse the fine selection of unique gifts, hand crafted wood and leather goods, jewelry, ceramics, holiday items, and much more.”

In addition to shopping, guests are invited to enjoy flavorful food truck cuisine by Sass Catering on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm and a bake sale hosted by National Charity League.

“Royal” artists are: Emily Abello, Georganne Alex, Donna Anderegg, Diane Arnold, Kristen Bates, Gabriel Bustamante, Joellen Chrones, Therese Colvin, Jess Conti, Patrice Duhau, Susie Dunbar, Linda Fox, Karen Greenberg, Sandra Hopkins, Sukey Hughes, Susan Hugo, Carol E. Kemp, Cynthia Knight, Theresa Laursen, Kimberly Lorance, Lori McConnell, Syd McCutcheon, Monika Miehle, Shelley Nakano, Susan Owens, Diana Paul, Linda Pearl, Deborah Simpson, Mary Stanley, Lisabeth Thomson, Ute Wilson, and Nancy Yaki.

Queen of Arts 2019


September 21 & 22

Elverhøj Museum of History and Art celebrates Solvang’s history and cultural roots at the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday September 21 and 22. Artisans and craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors. Admission is free to the two-day Festival on Danish Days weekend. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm Sunday.

Little Danes and Danish Maids

“There will be hands-on activities for all ages and a Danish Christmas Corner with gifts and accessories rooted in Danish traditions,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “Guests can make paper craft decorations, get creative with Viking rune stamps, weave paper stars, dress up like Vikings and snap selfies, and shop for Danish Christmas keepsakes.”

Photo booth fun

Inside the Museum, exhibits come to life through various demonstrations like spinning, rosemaling and jewelry making. Bobbin lace makers will hand weave intricate designs and offer guests an opportunity to try this centuries-old art. Docents clad in colorful Danish folk costumes will be creating Danish Christmas crafts such as woven paper hearts and paper stars.

Danish crafts: papirklip, paper stars, bobbin lace making

Papirklip artist Rick James Marzullo will demonstrate the Danish folk art of papercutting that has earned him international acclaim. Rounding out the weekend of free activities are docent-led tours of the museum’s historical, cultural, and art exhibits.



In the spirit of collaboration two Solvang museums, Elverhøj Museum of History & Art and the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature, are teaming up for a series of fun and informative day excursions. Each trip is co-hosted by the Buellton and Solvang Recreation Departments for transportation and reservations. A skilled museum representative will provide background information on the various experiences and exhibitions. Participants will enjoy a specially curated day of art, culture, and beauty free from the stress of driving.

Kicking off the series is Elverhøj and Buellton Recreation Center with a trip to The Getty Villa in Malibu on Wednesday, October 9, 8:30 am - 7 pm ($49). After nearly three years of major renovation, the galleries of the Getty Villa reopened with an entirely new arrangement that situates the art in its cultural and historical context. The Villa is home to the greatest collection of Greek and Roman antiquities in North America. Visit will start with a 45-minute Architecture and Garden Tour followed by free time to explore the collection and get lunch.

Getty Villa
Getty Villa

Elverhøj’s second excursion of the series is to The Hammer Museum on Tuesday, November 19, 7:45 am - 6 pm ($43) with the Solvang Recreation Department. This UCLA-operated museum is home to a diverse collection of historical and contemporary works. The visit will start with a 60-minute guided tour followed by free time for lunch and to view more of the museum. On both trips guests will enjoy insightful background information and insider tips provided by a skilled Elverhøj Museum representative.

Hammer Museum
Hammer Museum

Wildling Museum of Art & Nature is hosting two nature-focused trips. Their first excursion with Solvang Recreation Center is a day of birding and a visit to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History on Thursday, October 10, 8:15 am - 5 pm ($43). Birding expert Peter Schneekloth will lead the group to see and learn about various birds in the marshes, creeks, and shores of Morro Bay. Birding will be followed by a quick stop at the Museum and time for lunch and shopping on the Embarcadero. 

On Tuesday, December 3, 8 am - 6 pm ($49), the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature and the Buellton Recreation Center will host a holiday themed trip to the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. Stroll through North America’s largest camellia collection along with many rare and beautiful plants from around the world. Visit the historic Boddy House and view art highlighting the intersection between contemporary arts and sciences in the Sturt Haaga Gallery. After the gardens, participants will enjoy lunch on their own in Old Pasadena.



Two front page articles in 2019 featured our most recent Elverhøj exhibit: The Santa Ynez Valley Star published a story August 6th: Eyvind Earle, John Cody works featured in “Crossing Paths.” The Santa Ynez Valley News published a story July 25: Elverhoj Museum in Solvang to debut “Crossing Paths” exhibit, featuring artist Eyvind Earle & John Cody.

The article Looking back, moving forward: While reminiscing about its 30-year history, the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang plants a foot firmly in the future was posted on August 23rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun, Volume 19, Issue 25.

The publication My Livable City Vol. 4 Issue. 1, Apr-Jun 2017, included an article about Solvang in its Urban Blueprint section (“A series of case studies that capture the transformational qualities of well-designed cities”). Author Willem Swart gives an insightful and comprehensive analysis of Solvang’s development through the lens of architecture and what he calls 'allopatric urbanization.' For a PDF copy of the complete article, click the image below.


Grand Party and Visit from Danish Ambassador

Elverhøj celebrated its 30th anniversary and played host to various invited guests and local dignitaries during a private reception and dinner on November 28th. Ambassador Henrik Bramsen Hahn traveled from the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C., to join in the festivities.

The lively invitation-only reception, held at the Museum’s historic home, featured tray-passed appetizers served by student members of the newly-formed American Danish Club from the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Reception guests included a good portion of the Solvang City Council, both incoming and present; Solvang’s Mayor Jim Richardson and Mayor-elect Ryan Toussaint; representatives from the offices of Supervisor Joan Hartmann and Congressman Salud Carbajal; founding and current Elverhøj Board Members; and Museum supporters. 

The pre-dinner reception also included a short program with remarks by Ambassador Hahn, whose sole reason for visiting Solvang was the Museum’s anniversary celebrations. “As a Dane, I am proud to go to this small, beautiful city in California where people still preserve the memory of Danish legacy and culture, “ remarked Ambassador Hahn. “Places like Solvang, and Elverhøj, have been instrumental in educating the American public about Denmark and our shared history.” He also spoke about Danish industry, including green-tech, and immigration.

Ambassador Hahn with Bent Olsen
Ambassador Hahn (right) with Bent Olsen.

“It is an honor to have Ambassador Hahn join us to celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary,” stated Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “Elverhøj has at its core a commitment to support art and culture, and preserve Solvang’s special history. And Elverhøj has truly become the link between the past and the future, maintaining the city’s historic roots and cultural authenticity.”  

A private dinner in Solvang followed the reception. The Ambassador’s visit to Solvang included a tour of the Village, a stop for some of the town’s famous Danish food, and talks with local officials.

Links to media coverage:

Recent editorial in the Santa Ynez Valley News about Atterdag College, Solvang’s history and Elverhøj as a keeper of Solvang’s Danish heritage:



Elverhøj was voted “Best Art Gallery” by readers of the Santa Ynez Valley News!

Best of the Valley 2018



We invite you to become part of the volunteer family who are the heart, soul and voice of Elverhøj. Come share our warm and lively cultural center and become part of this small museum with a big reach.

Share your skills while getting an insider's view of the Museum and its magic.

Not much free time? Try volunteering two to four hours, once or twice a month. Retired? Elverhøj is a perfect place to share your skills and life's wisdom. Looking for a way to share your interest in art or doing crafts? Talk to us and let’s find a way to share it with our visitors. Are you—or do you know—a student who needs public service credit? Think Elverhøj!

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Docent: Our frontline volunteers who bring Elverhøj alive for visitors.
  • Photographer: help document events, activities and our collections.
  • Jack (or Jill) of All Trades: Help with building and grounds maintenance and improvements.
  • Collections Management: Help us preserve the past for future generations.
  • Education & Outreach: Teach and reach our youngest visitors and local schools.
  • Research: Assist with ongoing projects and exhibits.
  • Special Events: Help with openings, activities, and events.


  • Part time flexible hours.
  • Use your talents and meet new friends!
  • Your chance to explore, inspire, discover, contribute, and have fun.
  • No experience required.

Contact us at (805) 686-1211 or info@elverhoj.org



Danes are curious people. When they immigrated to America they often kept in touch with each other. When a group of Danes found a good place to farm and live they told others to come join them. Such a place is Solvang, California. . . .

Solvang DVDSo begins a DVD 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.
Personal interviews bring to life the pioneering Danish families that made Solvang flourish. These early settlers had a great capacity for work, but also for enjoyment. When times were tough they persevered and helped one another. They came to love their new home, but always treasured their Danish background. Priceless old photographs and more contemporary images supplement their rich oral history.
June Christensen, Elverhøj board member, was the executive producer and researcher on this project. People interviewed include: Elise Lindegaard Bates, Thor Brandt-Erichsen, Harlan Burchardi, Elisa Larsen Duus, Erik Gregersen, Leona Ibsen, Regina Iversen, Ivo Nedegaard Jacobsen, Marie Tarnow Jaeger, Florence (Flossie) Jensen, Eiler Johansen, Anker Johnson, Monica Fauerso Kramer, Elna Larsen, Daryl Nielsen, Donald Nielsen, Kathryn Iversen Nielsen, Roger Nielsen, Edna Paaske, Abeline Jensen Petersen, Robert Petersen, William Petersen, Else Jensen Statom, Marian Johnson Walker, Gerda Svendsen Willis, Lucille Wulff, and Viggo Richard Wulff.
An informative narration by videographer Bent Myggen sets these interviews in context. Myggen also did camera work, editing and production. Funding for the DVD project came from the Santa Barbara Foundation, The Valley Foundation, and private donors.
To order the Solvang, Danish Colony in California DVD for $15, email info@elverhoj.org or call the Museum at 805-686-1211. This will be a keepsake to treasure and an imaginative gift for family and friends.


Weddings at ElverhojWEDDINGS AT ELVERHØJ

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. 


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