Celebrate Solvang’s history and cultural roots during the Living History Festival, Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20, at Elverhøj Museum of History and Art. Artisans, storytellers and craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and entertain visitors throughout the weekend event; the public is invited, and admission is free.
“Artisans demonstrating blacksmithing, carving wooden storks and constructing Viking chain-mail jewelry will join craftspeople showcasing lace-making, Danish Christmas crafts and fiber arts,” says Elverhoj Executive Director, Esther Jacobsen Bates. “There will be hands-on activities for all ages and live entertainment both days.”
Visitors are invited to linger in the Museum garden where blacksmith Hans Duus will be pounding out metal pieces. Joining him will be a woodworker crafting wooden storks: these Danish symbols of good luck can be found perched on rooftops all around Solvang. Docents clad in colorful Danish folk costumes weave paper hearts and stars, a time-honored Danish Christmas tradition. Storyteller Randall McGee, always a Festival favorite, will perform as world-famous author, Hans Christian Andersen.
History, heritage and art are on display year-round at Elverhøj; the Museum occupies the former residence of one of Solvang’s most artistic families. The historic handcrafted structure, two blocks south of the village center, is the former dream home of artists Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. In 1949, they began building in a style derived from the large Danish farmhouses of 18th century Jutland. Many elements of Scandinavian architecture were incorporated into the design; ornamental wrought ironwork, sculptures, a carved redwood main entry door, and hand-painted wall panels are just some of the permanent imprints of this talented family.
Since 1988, Elverhøj Museum has been welcoming and educating visitors. Among the permanent exhibits is the Solvang Room, which presents the town’s history with photos, video, artifacts and models. The Immigrant Room displays artifacts from a rural, one-room Danish home as it might have looked in the 1870s, when Danish emigration to the United States was at its peak. The diorama cottage houses small scale buildings depicting 1920s Solvang, with its mix of architectural styles that did not yet include the Danish designs adapted in the 1950s.
Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is located at 1624 Elverhoy Way in Solvang, two blocks south of Copenhagen Drive, just off of Second Street. There is no charge for admission; suggested donation is $5.
For a full schedule of Museum programs and to learn more about Solvang’s rich history, visit www.elverhoj.org.