In 2016, our family took crazy road trip across California, Oregon, and Washington.
Dead & Company was in the middle of their summer tour and at the last minute, we decided to go to the Portland, Oregon and George, Washington shows (in addition to the Wheatland and Mountain View, California shows). In addition to stopping at many scenic viewpoints, in four days, we also explored the City of Portland and checked out VooDoo Doughnut, and hiked through the Columbia River Gorge to see Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Shepperd’s Dell Falls, Latourell Falls, and the Crown Point Vista House. We also visited the Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorial, which is part of the Maryhill Museum of Art.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have to time to visit the actual Maryhill Museum and I have wanted to go back ever since. So when we were planning our 2018 Dead & Company summer vacation road trip itinerary, which included concerts at The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington and Autzen Stadium in Oregon, I was super excited to add the museum to our itinerary!
Positioned in a beautiful 26 acre, park-like setting above the Columbia River, the Maryhill Museum of Art is a 35,000 square foot art museum with a cafe, stunning scenic overlooks, shaded picnic areas, expansive lawns, an outdoor sculpture park, and more.
The entire museum complex covers 5,300 acres, making the Maryhill Museum grounds, among the largest museum grounds in the world. Here you’ll find historic sites, hiking trails, wineries, art, and incredible views of the Columbia River Gorge.
The Maryhill Museum Of Art regularly features special exhibitions and hosts special events, and on permanent display, showcases:
- More than 80 works by Auguste Rodin and European and American paintings
- Objects from the palaces of the Queen of Romania and Orthodox icons
- A collection of unique chess sets
- The Théâtre de la Mode — small Barbie-size mannequins dressed in designer fashions of post-World War II France
- Baskets of the indigenous people of North America
- An American Indian collection representing nearly every tradition and style in North America
While the kids weren’t exactly thrilled to visit an art museum, they both were pleasantly surprised that the Maryhill Museum Of Art has much more than gallery after gallery of paintings — and happy to be inside with air conditioning!
We really enjoyed the collection of Rodin sculptures, the ancient chess sets with fantastic intricate designs, the furniture from Romania, and the collection of Native American artworks. The view from the scenic overlooks is also amazing, but it was simply too hot for us to really enjoy it for very long!
Maryhill Museum Of Art History
Samuel Hill purchased the Museum’s 5,300 acres of land along the Columbia River in 1907 to establish a Quaker farming community. The Maryhill Land Company, named after his daughter, built a town, including a store, post office, Quaker church, inn, blacksmith’s shop, and stable.
In 1914, work began on a gorgeous, three-story Beaux Arts mansion designed by the nationally recognized architectural firm Hornblower & Marshall of Washington, D.C. It was to be Hill’s home, but the project ran into too many obstacles and construction stopped in 1917.
Loïe Fuller — a pioneer of modern dance living in Paris — who was a friend of Hill’s convinced him to turn the unfinished mansion into a museum of art. Fuller helped build the core of the museum’s collection, including the acquisition of more than 80 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Hill also transferred his own art collections to the museum.
In 1926, Sam Hill’s friend, Queen Marie of Romania, dedicated the still unfinished museum in a ceremony attended by more than 2,000 people that received national attention. But in 1931, Hill died at the age of 73 and the long settlement of his estate delayed progress on the museum, which was filled with unpacked crates of art.
In 1937, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, the wife of San Francisco sugar magnate Adolf Spreckels stepped up to finish the museum. She joined the board of trustees and donated artwork from her personal collection. Finally, in 1940, the museum was opened to the public on Sam Hill’s birthday, May 13.
The new Mary & Bruce Stevenson Wing, designed by GBD Architects of Portland, opened in May 2012. It houses the museum’s M.J. Murdock Education Center, collections storage, and Loie’s: The Museum Café. Exterior spaces include the Cannon Power Plaza and the Broughton and Mary Bishop Family Terrace, both providing expansive views of the Columbia River Gorge below and Mount Hood in the distance.
Know Before You Go
- The Maryhill Museum Of Art is located at 35 Maryhill Museum Drive, Goldendale, Washington 98620 in Klickitat County.
- The museum is open March 15 to November 15 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, including holidays.
- Parking at the museum is free. Admission to the Museum Gardens, Grounds, and Stonehenge Memorial is also free.
- Admission is $12/adult, $10/senior 65+, $9/college student with ID, $5/youth ages 7-18, and children 6 and under are free. There is also a $30 family admission option that includes two adults and all related children.
- Download the Museum Visitor Guide And Map.
- Loïe’s: The Museum Café is open from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm daily between March 15 and November 15. The cafe is accessed through the museum’s main entrance, and is located at the south end of the Terrace Level of the Mary and Bruce Stevenson wing.
- Browse art books and an interesting selection of gifts, from totes and ties to jewelry, home accessories and more, at the Museum Store.
- You must check all backpacks, umbrellas, and other items larger than 11×14″ at the entrance desk.
- Eating inside the museum is only allowed in the Cafe. Picnic tables are available outside in a shaded grassy area if you have brought your own food.
- Visiting with children? Stop by the EyeSEE room, a dedicated kid-zone with games and books selected to help kids appreciate and participate in art.
- Animals are not allowed in the museum.
- The Maryhill Museum Of Art was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
- The Stonehenge Memorial and Klickitat County Veterans’ Memorial at the original Maryhill town site is also part of the Maryhill Museum of Art. Admission is free and it is open daily from 7:00 am to dusk.