The Maryhill Museum of Art: How to Visit this Unique Spot

Perched on the edge of the Colombia River and housed in the famous Sam Hill’s former hilltop mansion, the Maryhill Museum of Art is a must-see when visiting the small town of Maryhill, Washington.

About the Maryhill Museum of Art

The mansion turned art museum sits on 5,300-acres of south-facing ranch lands. The grounds surrounding the museum are like a desert oasis with lush grass, tall trees, sculpture art, and panoramic vistas of the Columbia River.

The museum opened in 1940 and Time Magazine called it “the world’s most isolated art museum.”

While that’s not technically true, the Maryhill Museum of Art is far removed from any major metropolitan city. Seattle is 223 miles and a little under a 4-hour drive away, and Portland is 100 miles and a 2.5-hour drive.

What to Expect When Visiting the Museum

For many visitors, the museum’s remoteness is part of its allure. After you’ve been traveling for miles through golden hills with craggy basaltic columns and suddenly a stately white building appears against a sapphire sky it feels like you’ve been transported into an episode of Downton Abbey.

The key to visiting the museum is to give yourself enough time to wander through all three floors which display 11 permanent exhibits, as well as, special exhibits.

We recommend setting aside at least 2 hours to enjoy the museum, which is one of the best things to do in Maryhill! 

Best Things to Do at the Maryhill Museum of Art

Explore the best exhibits.

Some of the absolute best things to see at the museum include:

Artifacts from the Good Roads Movement

This exhibit includes an expansive collection of artifacts and photos related to Sam Hill’s “favorite cause,” the Good Roads Movement.

The Theatre de la Mode

The Theatre de la Mode showcases the post-World War II Paris fashion scene with miniature mannequin exhibitions posed on stylish theatre sets.

American Indian Artifacts

These artifacts come from various North American tribes and are a fascinating look into the area’s past.

A Royal Collection

Royal memorabilia from Queen Marie of Romania is one of the most popular things to see at the Maryhill Museum of Art.

Enjoy lunch with a view on the property.

Loïe’s, the Museum Café, is on the lower level and has sandwiches, soups, salads, beverages, a kid’s menu, as well as jaw-dropping views.

View from the Cafe of Columbia River

Explore the grounds of Maryhill’s art museum for free.

The outdoor sculpture area, grounds, and parking are free. If you are driving through and don’t have time to visit the museum, stopping to stretch your legs or wander the grounds makes for a great scenic stop.

Here you’ll find shaded spots to relax, picnic tables with a view, and, of course, sculptures to admire.

Next to the parking lot, under the trees, are several picnic tables, and while we were there, we were one of a handful enjoying a picnic and the view.

 Maryhill Museum of Art Outside Sculptures

Travel tip: If you have time, you’ll also want to stop at Maryhill Stonehenge.

Essential Information for Visiting

The museum and café are open March 15 through November 15 each year. Museum hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; café hours 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission: adults $12, senior $10, children 7-18 $5, family admission $30. They also have several free admission days which are noted on their website.

On Wednesday, is a 2-for-1 admission deal; just mention “Two-Fer Wednesday” when purchasing your tickets.

10 thoughts on “The Maryhill Museum of Art: How to Visit this Unique Spot”

    • Isn’t it! I could have stayed there all day and watched the day pass. I hope you get to visit soon. 🙂

    • You live in beautiful part of Oregon. I hope you make it up north one day. The drive along the gorge is amazing.

  1. I love the view from the Café. When I visit a museum, I like to find a quiet spot and write down my impressions about the art, my feelings about the art or exhibits etc, because I simply find the atmosphere in a museum very inspiring. With this view, I could probably write a book, haha. They would have to drag me from the table at closing time 😉

    • I am now picturing you at the table scribling down in a notepad and looking up to gaze at the view. 🙂

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