While Saultites enjoy annual Rotaryfest activities Thursday through Saturday, a look back at the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie’s history is available at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum.
Rotaryfest stems from Community Night in 1922, a fundraiser to purchase a car for the city’s nurse.
These days, funds raised by the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie go toward helping children with disabilities.
The Sault Ste. Marie Museum’s Rotary exhibit began July 10 with a formal gathering for Museum members, and opened to the public July 11.
The exhibit includes a device known as an iron lung, which was once used to help those suffering from polio to breathe, and represents a ghastly but compelling look at medical treatment in the past.
Helping those with polio was a major part of Rotary activities.
The iron lung is on display for only two weeks, on loan from a U.S. Rotary club, said Julia Piskiewicz, Sault Ste. Marie Museum director/curator, speaking to SooToday.
The remainder of the museum’s Rotary exhibit will continue until October, Piskiewicz said.
There is still no cure for polio, but can now be prevented through vaccinations.
Famous survivors of polio include actor Donald Sutherland, singer/songwriter Neil Young, film producer/director/screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola, legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus and former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led America through the Great Depression and the Second World War.
The first Rotary Club was established by community-minded individuals in Chicago in 1905, with local Rotary clubs quickly starting up around the world.
The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie was established in 1918.
The local club continues to help children with disabilities, partnered with Easter Seals and THRIVE Child Development Centre.
Museum Director/Curator Piskiewicz said the museum will be open during Rotaryfest Thursday, Friday and Saturday on an extended hours basis, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with admission at half price for all ages on those days, and open 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with free admission Saturday.
For this year’s Rotaryfest, Piskiewicz said museum staff will also have a booth and interactive table on hand, celebrating Sault musicians who have entertained at the annual festival over the years, near Rotaryfest’s Stage 1.