Hans Christian Anderson Museum/The Book Loft.
In the Danish town of Solvang, CA, a museum was established to Denmark's author of children's stories, Hans Christian Anderson. Built within The Book Loft bookstore and cafe, this free museum offers locals and tourists an opportunity to learn about Anderson and see many antiques such as old international copies of his stories.
Backstory and Context
Now a more fact based summary of the museum comes from website of The Book Loft, a bookstore and cafe where the museum is located. In 1970, there was a demand from locals and tourists for things related to Han Christian Anderson. At the time there was a local park named in his honor and a small statue of his head located in a small town square-park. Knowing that tourists came not just for Danish pastries or to purchase Danish-made and Danish-inspired items such as porcelain figurines of a Danish couple in traditional clothing kissing or Viking decor or wooden shoes but to experience Danish culture and more of the language, a museum was brought forth that would be dedicated to Denmark's famous author, Hans Christian Anderson. This museum would bring Anderson to America, since many tourists would not be able to visit his museum in Denmark. The museum would teach about his early life, his career and his travels. It would talk about the inspirations and historical settings for his stories and offer people a glimpse into who Anderson was, where he lived and what he looked like. Furthermore, tourists can see the international fame of his works.
Included at the museum are-
Exhibits and displays depicting:
- Andersen's life and work
- Jenny Lind, the beloved singer known throughout the world as "the Swedish Nightingale" Andersen's unrequited love
- Jean Hersholt, Hollywood philanthropist, Dr. Christian of radio fame, noted Andersen scholar
- Model of Andersen's childhood home.
- "The Princess and the Pea" model by local artist Carl Jacobson
- Handcrafted Andersen doll, complete with miniature book, designed and made by Danish doll maker Kirsten Gynther Eriksen
- Antique tools for making wooden shoes (similar to those used by Andersen's father)
Hundreds of volumes of Andersen's tales
- Many first and early editions
- Many illustrated editions, including Edmund Dulac, W. Heath Robinson, Kate Greenaway, Hans Tegner, Anne Anderson and a special exhibit of Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen
- Many in Danish, including beautifully bound sets and individual volumes.
Other Literary Works
- Andersen also wrote travel journals, plays, novels, poetry
Original letters and photographs
- Poetry and correspondence written in Andersen's spidery script
- Photographs of Andersen at various times of his life
- Whimsical, delicate cutouts were created by Andersen for the amusement of friends and their children.
- The museum logo is a figure by Andersen, representing the classic pantomime character Pierrot.