SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- The community's River of History Museum will unveil a Jeanne Tubman mural depicting French voyageurs and Anishnabe fishermen during a free public open house from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22 at the museum at 531 Ashmun St., across from the Soo Theater.
The Tubman mural, on which the renowned local artist spent more than 400 hours, is the highlight of the open house that also will feature new and updated displays from Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Lake Superior State University, the lumbering industry and the Susan Schacher Memorial Award. The LSSU display, still being updated, includes a timeline of the university's history from U.S. Army Fort Brady to present day. The Cloverland display includes a monitor that allows visitors to see the LSSU Aquatic Research Laboratory fishcam.
During the open house, the museum will also recognize the Chippewa County Historical Society and its role in assisting the museum with articles and artifacts. A silent auction is planned, featuring items and articles from local businesses on which the public may bid.
New mural by Jeanne Tubman to be displayed at River of History Museum
Cecil Pavlat from the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Paul Sabourin from Le Sault Historic Sites will present a historic narrative at the unveiling of the Tubman mural between 6-7 p.m. Refreshments will be supplied courtesy of the Sault Tribe.
Several museum displays have been added or updated since the museum’s most-recent open house, including a display on lumbering in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, the history of Cloverland Electric and its historical involvement, a timeline history of LSSU and a recognition plaque for Schacher, longtime professor at LSSU and the driving force behind establishing the museum.
“The mural depicts French voyageurs and Anishnabe warriors loading their canoes with furs and working along the shoreline above the St. Mary’s rapids,” said Thomas Robinson, president of the board of the Sault Foundation for Culture and History, which operates the River of History Museum. “Jeanne put in a tremendous number of hours on this project. It was a labor of love, but required a much longer period to complete than she first anticipated. It is a beautiful artwork, featuring vivid detail and colors. It depicts a scene from above the rapids, with the river and Fort de Repentigny in the background. The timeline would be about 1655 or so. It is a wonderful addition to the museum, and well worth seeing during our open house.”
A grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs funded $2819 of the mural project.
“Anyone interested in the history of Sault Ste. Marie and the St. Mary’s River should see this mural and the updates to the museum,” said Robinson. “Some areas have been updated and others reorganized. It really is becoming a strong depiction of the early history of the river and the Sault, and of life during the long history of this area, dating back to the mid-1600s.”
You'll find photos and the museum's hours of operation on its website, riverofhistory.org