Southern California is perhaps most known for its cultural influences from Spain and Latin America. However, tucked away in the town of Solvang is a testament to another rich cultural influence from an unexpected source: Denmark. The Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is a unique museum devoted to the contributions of Danish-Americans to the town of Solvang, and is one of the few museums outside of Denmark to celebrate Danish culture.
History of the Elverhøj Museum in Solvang
The name “Elverhøj” is pronounced “Elverhoy,” which is also the English spelling. The museum is named after a popular Danish folk play. The museum itself was actually the home of Viggo Brant-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. They began building their home in 1950 and modeled it after 18th century farmhouses in northern Denmark. Wrought ironwork, hand painted wood panels, and an intricately carved redwood door are some of the beautiful architectural details of the structure. The family donated their home and the museum opened its doors in 1988. Today, it is operated by the City of Solvang as a celebration of Danish culture and arts.
Visiting the Museum
The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art is open from 11am to 4pm, Wednesday through Sunday. The museum is wheelchair accessible and service animals are welcome. Best of all, admission is free! However, the museum does recommend a $5 donation in lieu of an admission fee.
One of the most popular ongoing exhibitions at the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art celebrates Vikings as early Scandinavian ancestors. The Vikings exhibition includes tools, replicas, and weaponry that tell the story of the role of Vikings in history and popular culture. There is even a hands-on display and a fun activity area exploring the Viking rune alphabet that is perfect for young visitors! Recently, the museum has added a Viking era sword, jewelry, and a replica axe to the exhibit.
Elverhøj Museum Solvang Room Exhibit
The Solvang Room at the Elverhøj Museum acts as an oral history and scrapbook of the town. Residents have contributed text, photos, and articles that chronicle the founding and growth of Solvang all the way back to its roots in 1910. The pieces in the Solvang Room range from personal photos from residents to official photographs of the Danish Royal family provided by the Danish Embassy. It is a fascinating exhibition that chronicles the city of the Solvang from past and present, and is designed to grow with the town.
An Afternoon of Danish History
During your next visit to Solvang, be sure to visit the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art! Come away with memories of a one-of-a-kind experience and an appreciation for Scandinavian culture that is uniquely Solvang!
Photo By User:Edgy01 (Dan Lindsay) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32156035