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By Brittany Allen

Maryhill Museum continues to honor Columbia River Highway


Brittany Allen

GETTING A FACIAL: Scaffolding is up along much of the Maryhill Museum as its aging facade gets new attention.

In May, Maryhill Museum began celebrating the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Columbia River Highway: the road that paved the way for modern transportation in the Gorge.

The exhibit entitled "Sam Hill and the Columbia River Highway" has been on display at Maryhill since March 15, featuring black and white prints of the highway being created and the original landscape surrounding the road. This exhibit is scheduled to run through November 15.

Their initial event-a poetry workshop with a roadway theme which took place May 7-was followed by a lecture and book signing with the author of Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn't Be Done in June, a juried event entitled: "Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Columbia River Gorge" in August, and the museum's annual benefit auction, which celebrated not only the centennial highway, but the 90th anniversary of the museum's dedication by Queen Marie of Romania.

Though the museum has hosted many very driven festivities already this year, the bulk of the celebration, according to Maryhill's executive director, Colleen Schafroth, has been intentionally reserved for the fall season.

Schafroth says that the museum really wanted to celebrate not only the centennial highway, but the roads that came before it-like Sam Hill's Maryhill Loops-and how their creation dictated much of how the centennial highway was constructed.

"At Maryhill I just thought it would be nice to maybe highlight what came before and why it was so important," Schafroth said. "And, Hill was so much an integral part of that."

Next month will see the second of the centennial exhibitions as "The Historic Columbia River Highway through the Eyes of Young Artists" premieres on Saturday, October 1 with a reception from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. This display will showcase artwork inspired by the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Maryhill's agenda for the weekend of October 1 and 2 is also jam-packed with events for car and art enthusiasts alike. Taking the celebration out of doors, the Car is King Festival will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with art vendors sharing the grounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days for the Maryhill Arts Festival.

Included in these programs will be plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to observe the craftsmanship of the car both hands-on and from the sidelines. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, children will be provided with miniature car parts in the form of vegetables with which to create their own home-grown race cars. And, the Maryhill Loops Hill Climb-a race between vintage cars up the Maryhill Loops-will start at 9 a.m. on Sunday. This event will be observable from allocated places along the road.

"There's something for everybody coming up," Schafroth said. "They're all great programs. Nobody is going to be disappointed by coming to them."

In the nearer future, Maryhill will be hosting their annual Dulcimers in the Galleries event with musicians from Estacada, Ore. and the Tri-Cities, Wash. meeting up at the museum to harmonize among the artifacts and appreciate the galleries' acoustics.

Marcella Easly of the Upriver Dulcimers in Estacada has been involved with this event for five years and sees it as an "opportunity to share."

Sue Decker and Martha Einan of Three Rivers Dulcimer Society in the Tri-Cities agree that the event is a great opportunity to come together with distant friends and say that the quality of sound truly does make Maryhill a unique venue.

"It [has] fantastic acoustics," Decker said. "The way the sound carries in there is very beautiful."

Upcoming for the centennial program is the event: "A Road Suited for the Times: The Columbia River Highway at 100," which is set to educate and awe on Sunday, September 18 as it invites visitors to view pictures of the prestigious project through the lens of a 1940 Bausch & Lomb Projector.

Though it may seem with all the celebration that Maryhill's calendar should be already bursting at the seams, the museum will still be hosting a plethora of other events of differing themes and inspirations through the end of the year. Currently also still in the works is the museum's stucco preservation project. Once completed, the staff at Maryhill hope their 100-year-old "grand dame" won't look a day over 29.

For more information about Maryhill's current and upcoming events, visit


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