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After Almost A Century, Maryhill Museum Nearly Doubles In Size

For nearly a century, the Maryhill Museum, that striking mansion and repository of artistic treasures in the Columbia Gorge, has remained pretty much the way it was built.  Until now.

The new wing of the Maryhill is the first expansion the museum has had since 1940.

Mike Midlo / OPB

The Maryhill Museum will unveil a new 25,000-foot wing this weekend, nearly doubling the size of the museum.

Colleen Schafroth is the Executive Director.  She tells OPB’s Oregon Art Beat, the new addition is a major development in the museum’s history.

“The Maryhill Museum building was first completed about 1918.  Renovated and dedicated in 1926.  Opened in 1940.  And the new wing is the first addition to that building in of all those years,” says Schafroth.

The new wing will be a place to display the museum’s collection, instead of keeping it in storage.  That collection includes sculptures by Rodin and many Native American artifacts.  But you’ll also see a few Maryhill oddities, such as miniature French fashion mannequins, and a room full of furniture and paintings donated by Queen of Romania.

Schafroth says the 1918 mansion with the 2012 addition will create what artists might call juxtaposition.

“The historic building behind us is there in all its beauty, and then the new wing is quite different.  So that people coming here on any one given day will immediately recognize the old, and the new.”

Mike Midlo / OPB
The Maryhill Museum overlooks the Columbia River.

Schafroth is standing on the edge of the new wing’s outdoor plaza, which offers an expansive view of the Columbia Gorge. “Isn’t that amazing?  You can see the tugs going up the river.  You can see the trains going by,” she says.

This spot will be center of the party this weekend, and will feature dance performances and plein air painting demonstrations.

Schafroth says this weekend’s grand opening marks more than a year of construction and was funded by a $10 million capital campaign.

“This is really just a stunning project for the museum that’s going to provide additional space for art workshops or performances.  Also for the collections.  And to take advantage of this view.  You just couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The new wing of the Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington, about a hundred miles east of Portland, will be dedicated this weekend.  You can watch the video below and learn more and learn more on our Arts and Life page.