Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) was a close friend of Sam Hill who presided over the museum’s dedication ceremony on November 3, 1926. Her visit to the United States was a media sensation and caused a similar buzz in the Columbia River Gorge when she dedicated the yet-unfinished Maryhill Museum of Art as a personal favor. The ceremony attracted a crowd of 2,000, including 400 area schoolchildren and an auto caravan from Portland. The video below is a silent newsreel of Queen Marie’s visit.
During the same visit, Marie delivered a cache of artwork and personal artifacts to the museum; today visitors to Maryhill can see paintings, Russian icons and sculptures, along with carved gilt furniture, manuscripts, and the gown Queen Marie wore to the 1896 coronation of her cousins Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia, along with a replica of the Queen’s coronation crown, jewelry, silverware, royal regalia and other memorabilia.
Queen Marie of Roumania’s personal art objects and artifacts are among the many collections that make Maryhill Museum unique. In no other museum, in the United States or Europe, is there a collection that documents the dazzling personality and the daring accomplishments of this thoroughly modern queen.
— Linda Brady Tesner, “Maryhill Museum of Art”