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Sep-09-2010 18:52printcomments

Your City USA Visits the Maryhill Museum of Art

The overall feeling is one of elegance and grace by all the exhibits.

Maryhill Museum exterior
by Glen Bledsoe

(Goldendale, Washington) - I checked my GPS. About 150 miles--three hours driving if you didn't stop (we planned to). Still it was exciting. Driving up the Collumbia Gorge was like entering a different world. An amazing world with beautiful landscapes and unexpected treasures. Our destination was one such treasure: The Maryhill Museum of Art.

I grew up near Chicago and was a frequent visitor at the Art Institute of Chicago. In fact I was a student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago part time for a couple of years as a print-maker. I've been to the Louvre. I was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and looked at Vermeer's "The Concert" some months before it was stolen. (I thought security was pretty lax when I was there.) I've been to art museums in Washington DC, Seatlle, San Francisco, Dublin. Yeah, I'm the kind of guy who heads for the museum when he goes on vacation.

I don't claimed to be any sort of authority on museum collections, but I'm not uniformed either. So when I tell you that The Maryhill Museum is special you can take it as the real thing. It's not that the museum's collection is so large. It isn't. It isn't that the collection covers many art periods. It doesn't do that either.

But I will say the collection--along with the building it's housed in--is a perfect slice of art and history and astonishingly it resides in a completely non-urban setting. They have, as you will see in the photos, artifacts of Queen Marie of Romania, numerous sculptures by Auguste Rodin, an extensive collection of chess sets, Indian artifacts, and a collection of paintings by members of the Boston School of painting. There's also a rare collection of French fashion designs following WWII done doll size. Fans of film history will be amazed to see Jean Cocteau's (famous for his film "The Blood of the Poet," "Beauty and the Beast," "Orpheus," and other arts) contribution to the fashion dolls with his "I Married a Witch."

The overall feeling is one of elegance and grace by all the exhibits.

My wife and I didn't make it in the 3 hours we had planned. We had to stop and shoot photos of the waterfalls along the gorge. We arrived at the museum at 3:30 and closing was at 5:00. Considering my technique of HDR triple exposures I had very little time. My whirlwind photo essay shows some of the grandness of the place, but not all. I wanted to spend more time on the grounds capturing the beauty of the building itself. I plan on returning in a month or so. But there's enough here to tease you.

Don't let the distance deter you from visiting. Sometimes you've just got to get out of town and get away. I can't think of a better destination.

Enjoy the photos, and I hope they inspire you to take the journey to the hidden jewel of the Columbia Gorge. - You can now view Your City USA photos in the Photo Gallery Your City USA Photos by Glen Bledsoe Gallery

Glen Bledsoe, writer, photographer, cartoonist, magician was born and raised in Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago for several years. Glen made his home in Oregon in the early 80's where he continues to enjoy the mild climate and lack of sales tax.

He and his wife Karen have published seventeen books together for the school library market. Glen has written extensively on the issues of technology and education for the National Education Association and has penned other Salem-News publications including The Benny & Sid series, "The Truant Officer" (a serialized graphic novel), "The Insidious Futoko," and "The Hummer." His novel The Charity of Ebenezer Scrooge is available on and at better bookstores everywhere.

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Glen September 24, 2010 4:16 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for your comment. I know very little about Queen Marie, but what little I've heard is tantalizing. I agree that Maryhill is an incredible collection of art history. Not because it's collection is so famous, but because it's so unexpected--if that's the way I want to say it.

gp September 10, 2010 4:07 pm (Pacific time)

My sister in law and I were sitting on a terrace at Queen Marie of Romania's summer palace in Balchik, Bulgaria some ten or twelve years ago and laughed as we realized that we were probably among only a few who had been to both that palace and the one at Maryhill. She was an interesting woman, something like the Princess Di of her time. That part aside, Maryhill is a great place to while away a few hours with its eclectic collections and Rodin's discards.

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