Samuel Hill was undoubtedly a visionary in his own right, but having friends in high places didn't hurt him any. In 1907 he purchased 5,300 acres along the Columbia River to establish a Quaker farming community and found the Maryhill Land Company, named after his daughter. Seven years later he set to work building a mansion on the hill overlooking the river. But then his company folded and the mansion was without purpose. Enter friend number one: Parisian dance pioneer Loïe Fuller. She advised him to transform the cavernous building into an art museum. Throughout the next several years, he filled its halls with pieces from around the world, supplemented by works from Loïe's artist friends—including Auguste Rodin. And to further demonstrate his web of camaraderie, another friend of Hill's, Queen Marie of Romania, contributed Orthodox art and icons from her homeland. In 1926, the Queen dedicated the mansion as the Maryhill Museum of Art to a crowd of more than 2,000 onlookers.
And yet the museum wasn't finished. When Hill died in 1931, the museum's board of trustees stepped in to helm the completion of the project. On May 13, 1940, on what would've been Hill's 83rd birthday, they opened the museum to the public. In the years immediately following, Hill collaborator and arts patron Alma de Bretteville Spreckels fortified the museum's already-impressive collection with works of art loaned and gifted from her own home.
Today Maryhill overlooks the same vista, plus a sculpture garden, displaying its diverse collection of art from around the world. In addition to 80 original pieces by Rodin, including The Thinker, paintings by other European and American artists, and the Théâtre de la Mode French fashion exhibition, the museum's halls display Native American works from prehistoric times to the modern age. It also caters to younger minds with an activity room filled with games and child-friendly activity guides that make art accessible to kids so that parents don't have to carve Starry Night into their grilled cheese sandwiches.
Museums have a reputation for housing dusty, fragile artifacts that normally shouldn't be touched. But the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum is a different breed. Its passionate staff and crew of volunteers have collected and restored hundreds of historical cars, planes, and other vehicles, all of which they regularly start up and drive.
Situated on a 54-acre plot of land near the Columbia River, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum chronicles thousands of years of the area?s natural and cultural history. The 48,200-square-foot facility?which received an American Institute of Architects Honor Award?features interactive and multimedia exhibits that let guests study everything from the volcanic activity and floods that created the gorge to its wildlife. Guests can stand in the shadow of a life-size, 13-foot mammoth in the Ice Age exhibit or hide from its intimidating tusks under a canvas tent modeled after the one used by Lewis and Clark.
As the official interpretive center of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, the center celebrates the area?s indigenous flora and fauna while working to preserve them. Five acres of indigenous plants host turtles, ducks, geese, songbirds, and other native wildlife, on which guests spy as they stroll through the nature walk. At the raptor exhibit, visitors can come face-to-beak with various birds of prey, including a bald eagle, a great horned owl, and a red-tailed hawk. The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum hosts frequent educational programs and tour groups that detail ways to protect the area?s biodiversity without having to marry a tree.
The North Bend Depot and the Snoqualmie Depot seem to exist outside of time. To the unmistakable tune of a steam whistle, historic locomotives run passengers along the five-mile line between these stations. It's a treat for modern audiences that the Northwest Railway Museum helps preserve, in addition to the other train-based exhibits and activities it hosts.
As strange as it may sound, at Cougar Mountain Zoo, you just might be greeted by a big cat purring. Cougars are among the largest cats capable of true purring, and Cougar Mountain Zoo boasts a distinct subspecies of these overgrown felines, which prowl all over the zoo's award-winning World of Cougars exhibit.
Next to the mountain lions dwell their distant cousins, Bengal tigers, who sprawl out on the green grass or press their noses up to a thick wall of glass separating visitors from the wild animals. Other residents of the zoo include a barrel of endangered lemurs from Madagascar, a crowd of fluffy alpacas, and the country's largest herd of reindeer, who star in the annual Reindeer Festival and deliver presents to all the other animals.
The zoo also boasts a collection of bronze animal statues, a library of wildlife tracks, and a museum that explores not only the world of wildlife, but also the threats they face from human incursion.
When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.