Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) was a friend of Sam Hill who presided over Maryhill Museum of Art’s dedication ceremony on November 3, 1926. Her visit to the United States that year prompted a media frenzy and created a sensation in the Columbia River Gorge when the as-yet-unfinished museum was dedicated. The ceremony attracted a crowd of 2,000, including 400 area schoolchildren and an auto caravan that originated from Portland.
The video below is a silent newsreel showing Queen Marie’s visit.
During her visit, Queen Marie delivered more than 100 works of art and personal items to the museum. Today, visitors to Maryhill can see paintings, Russian icons, manuscripts, and the gown Queen Marie wore to the 1896 coronation of her cousins Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. A 1923 replica of Queen Marie’s coronation crown, jewelry, and other memorabilia are also on display. Gilded furniture from Romanian royal palaces provide a beautiful backdrop in Queen Marie room. These and other items were acquired by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels and given to the museum in 1951. Queen Marie’s 1926 gift of Romanian textiles provides the basis for a collection of Romanian folk dress that now includes 400 items.
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”