IF YOU’RE A connoisseur of oddball museums, here’s one to add to the list: the Maryhill Museum of Art in Maryhill, Washington, 170 kilometres east of Portland, Oregon. (www.maryhillmuseum.org)
Maryhill, says the 10th edition of Moon Washington, “was the singular vision of Seattle businessman Sam Hill,” who bought property on the north side of the Columbia River in 1907 with the idea of creating a Quaker community. “But no Quakers followed his lead.” Nevertheless, he built a mansion, whose location “on a lonely bluff at the parched, treeless end of the Columbia River Gorge defies reason.” None of the three Marys the town was named for—his wife, daughter and mother-in-law—“wanted anything to do with the place.”
In 1926 the mansion became a museum, “which houses an impressive and varied collection that’s well worth going out of your way to see,” says the guidebook. Queen Marie of Romania, a friend of Hill’s, donated her coronation gown and 15 crates of additional memorabilia, “much of which is now on permanent display.” An exhibit is dedicated to modern dancer Loïe Fuller, another friend, and the person who may have convinced Hill to buy a large collection of sculptures and drawings by Rodin. Also to be seen: art nouveau glass, European and American paintings, Eastern European Orthodox icons, American Indian artifacts, hand-carved chess sets and miniature mannequins wearing French haute couture.
While you’re there visit the Stonehenge Memorial, five kilometres east. Showing Stonehenge as it may have originally appeared, it was built by Hill between 1918 and 1929 as a tribute to local soldiers who died in the First World War.
138 stories from around the world
Recommendations from 176 of the latest guidebooks
Culture Locker © 2016 Meridian Writers’ Group