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


Christmas at ElverhojThe museum glows during the holidays, with a 12 foot tree decorated with handmade Danish Christmas ornaments as the focal point. Visitors can often find docents making traditional Danish Christmas paper crafts and learn about holiday traditions.

The Museum Store offers a unique shopping experience with products reflective of the treasured heritage of Denmark and the vibrant art of the present. Affordable, collectable and one-of-a-kind finds fit a range of tastes and ages. Browse through a selection of paper items created by a local papercutting artist. A fine selection of handmade Scandinavian inspired jewelry incorporates Danish coins and vintage stamps into one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets made by a local artists. Amber, silver and pewter jewelry selections are both beautiful and affordable. PlusPlus blocks, the Danish-made construction toy with one shape and endless possibilities, is a favorite with kids and educators alike. The beautifully luxurious selection of silk scarves from Danish artist Katja Bie incorporates historically accurate depictions of Viking Rune stones and motifs as well as royal monograms from Danish castles and designs inspired by storyteller H.C. Andersen. The Ekelund fine Swedish linens are a favorite with local shoppers and visitors alike. Elegant table runners and dishcloths, woven of all-natural materials in an environmentally-conscious way, offer designs that are sophisticated and range from classic to contemporary.



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

Best of the Valley 2018



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.



Our 2018 Solstice Sundowner Benefit Party on June 16 was another magical evening under the stars. The menu was superb as caterer Savoir Faire knocked it out of the park with perfectly cooked salmon and tender New York steak. Fresh seasonal salads and decadent amaretti cake paired perfectly with local wines provided by Evan’s Ranch, Fess Parker and Andrew Murray. Beer was provided by Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company and a delicious lemon mint shrub cocktail provided by Broken Clock Vinegar Works.

Musician Patrick Montgomery provided the perfect ambiance for a lovely evening complimented by LED hoop dancers to round off the night with the lighting of the bonfire as the big finale. Guests were busy bidding on fabulous silent auction items donated by local businesses followed by top notch live auction offers including vacations and many one-of-a-kind experiences.

Despite a bit cooler weather, guests said it was their favorite party to date and we couldn’t agree more. Our generous guests and community of donors helped us exceed our fundraising goal, while a team of volunteers worked behind the scenes to make it a perfect evening that was enjoyed by all.

Reporters Loved our Solstice Event:



Elverhøj Museum of Art and History in Solvang is pleased to announce Jody Williams has been hired to fill the newly created position of Assistant Director.

Jody Williams

Elverhøj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates stated: “Jody has demonstrated passion, enthusiasm, and an ability to apply her substantial skills to help Elverhøj not only continue its pursuit of sharing Solvang history, Danish culture, and the arts, but to help the organization rise to a new level. This is a busy time of year and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team. We can already tell she is going to be a significant asset as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary and work toward expanding our programs and community outreach.”

Jody grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley where she attended Solvang School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. She earned her BA in the History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz, graduating with double honors and Phi Beta Kappa. During her undergraduate studies, Jody spent a year abroad attending the University of Bologna where she studied art history and Italian politics. Upon graduation, she moved back to the valley and interned at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Williams has spent the last 13 years in the wine industry, including a decade at The Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang, which she co-owns with her husband and in-laws.

“After graduation my plan was to start working in a museum and one day become a curator of art,” said Williams. “But I also wanted to move home to the Santa Ynez Valley rather than a big city. I am thrilled to now be able to do both, and am having a great time learning more about the area’s Danish heritage while also getting to work with contemporary artists.”

Williams resides in Solvang with her husband, Charles, five-year-old daughter Audrey and their black Labrador, Lucy. When not working, you can find her on a run with her dog, at a park with her daughter or enjoying the area’s many fabulous wineries and restaurants with her husband and friends.



YouTube vlogger Tony Wang and his family visited Solvang this spring. Here are the links to their family-friendly shows that debuted May 31:



Elverhøy staff and more than 65 volunteers welcome 20,000 visitors a year from around the globe as we fulfill the museum’s mission to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.

As part of our 30-year celebration, Elverhoy hosted a special exhibit entitled Past, Present & Future from August 25-November 11. Works in this special exhibition presented an extraordinary survey of the range of regional, national, and international artists supported and promoted by Elverhøj during the past three decades. It’s the largest number of artists represented in a single show in the museum’s history.

Since opening to the public in 1988, Elverhøj Museum of History and Art has exhibited the work of more than 400 artists working in media that range from painting, sculpture and ceramics to assemblage, textiles and film. The Past, Present & Future exhibition marked this milestone year with a visual tribute to artists of the past who are no longer with us, and with a curated selection of works by contemporary artists whose art has been shown in the gallery through the decades and are still producing art in the present. The display also spotlighted artists whose future successes were nurtured through participation in Elverhøj shows and mentoring by museum curators and art committee members.

Exhibitions during the past 30 years have represented a range of curatorial perspectives, addressed controversial issues through art, introduced viewers to foreign cultures, and celebrated the natural beauty of our area and its inhabitants.

From the earliest days, the museum has held a deep interest in bringing international talent to local audiences. With a focus on Solvang’s Danish heritage, guest artists have included painters, musicians, printmakers, choral groups, athletes, authors and performers.

Elverhøj has at its core a commitment to support arts and culture—a legacy of the artistic family who gave their home to be a community museum. We honor their vision and celebrate the artists of the past, present and future.

Artists of the Past

Viggo Brandt-Erichsen, Merv Corning, Gregory DeLeon, Eyvind Earle, Richard Lindekens, Barbra Minar, Martha Mott, Channing Peake and Bud Tullis.

Selected Contemporary Artists of the Present

Wesley Anderegg, R. Anthony Askew, Phoebe Brunner, John Cody, Jim Farnum, Karen Gearhart-Jensen, Rebecca Gomez, Holli Harmon, Patricia Hedrick, Kam Jacoby, Susan Jørgensen, Renée Kelleher, Lindy Kern, Joseph Knowles, Teresa McNeil MacLean, Rick James Marzullo, Ann Raleigh, Pat Roberts, Francis Scorzelli, Ro Snell, Nicole Strasburg, Dug Uyesaka, C. Wood, Seyburn Zorthian, and Pamela Zwehl-Burke.

Artists Whose Futures were Nurtured at Elverhøj

Kristen Bates, Mackenzie Duncan, Zoë Nathan, Luis Ramirez, Blakeney Sanford, and Chelsea Ward.


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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