Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Wednesday Post

Two Postcards from Maryhill, Washington
The Avatar visits Sam Hill's place.

In the short time since we last checked in with my running Avatar, he crossed back into Washington State -- it will be a long, long time before he sees the Beaver State again, if ever -- and struggled up the hill to the Maryhill Museum.  First he passed by the Stonehenge replica...

That's Mt. Hood in the background, so you know the Avatar hasn't got THAT far from
Portland yet.  But it's the "back side" of Mt. Hood.
...and then backtracked a short stretch west to the museum itself:

You East-Coasters probably think all of Oregon and Washington are lushly forested.  Actually, 
the two-thirds of both states east of the Cascades are pretty darn dry.
He arrived while I was in the middle of a fairly serious run back home, so he had to circle the grounds several times, disconcerting the peacocks, so he would be able to finish his run there and slip inside.

Maryhill Museum is a quirky place.  It was originally built as a mansion for the eccentric capitalist Samuel Hill, but ever before construction was complete Hill had decided that Maryhill wasn't really where he wanted to spend his golden years after all.  He and some of his cosmopolitan pals, including Queen Marie of Romania -- really! -- decided to make the building into a museum.  And so that's what it is, standing out there over the eastern end of the Columbia Gorge pretty much by itself, overlooking plateaus of wheatland cut by sudden, stark canyons.

Like most museums, it has regular special exhibits, and in fact almost six years ago (!) it was mentioned when  then-regular-reader fingerstothebone, or "Shu-Ju Wang" as she sometimes styles herself, had a piece in a show there.  But what you really have to love about Maryhill is the dazzlingly eclectic permanent collection.

There is, of course, art.  Most of it is by artists a notch under Tournament caliber in terms of fame and renown, except that they have 87 pieces by Rodin.

Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917.
Expected Tournament Debut perhaps early 2016.
And a significant piece by pre-Rafaelite Frederick Leighton:

Frederick Leighton, 1830-1898.
Expected Tournament Debut Late 2014.
Along with the arts collection, the museum website lists an additional ten special collections:
  • Samuel Hill Memorabilia
  • Probably the largest collection of materials related to Marie of Romania west of the Snake River
  • Material related to the life of another Sam Hill pal, the noted dancer Loïe Fuller
  • Native American artifacts
  • A surprisingly fascinating collection of chess sets
  • Art Noveau glasswork
  • Orthodox icons
  • An outdoor sculpture garden
  • The Théâtre de la Mode, which was this thing where, after World War II, the French fashion industry -- oh, hell, it's complicated.  Read the wiki article if you're interested.

To wit, it's kind of a treasure-house of assorted stuff, and without a doubt the cultural highlight of rural Klickitat County, Washington.  The Avatar loved it!


gl. said...

the avatar made an excellent choice. i'm sure the peacocks were surprised.

Libby said...

So great that he's sending you postcards!

Michael5000 said...

He's a nice guy!