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New NWTC collection explores the history of health and wellness promotion

Wednesday November 12, 2014

A unique collection that tells the story of wellness and health promotion has found a new home at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. The recently unveiled Dr. Francis Ardito Collection of Wellness and Health Promotion Artifacts, housed in the expanded Health Sciences Center at NWTC, contains antique exercise equipment, texts spanning hundreds of years, and dozens of historically significant wellness and health promotion items.

Wellness Center historical collection

Highlights of the collection include an early 20th century Everlast stationary bike with an original Swiss mileage counter, rare wooden dumbbells, an indoor rower from the early 1900s, and first edition books on health and wellness spanning the 1800s to the 1950s. The collection also contains rare medical artifacts, including a Swiss pulse-monitoring watch from the 1800s and a pristine first-aid kit from the 1910s that was saved from a fire.

“This collection is a gift for our students, and to anyone interested in examining the history of health and wellness promotion,” said Scott Anderson, associate dean of Health Sciences at NWTC.

“For Health Sciences students pursuing wellness-related degrees, it provides them with an important opportunity to understand health and wellness from a historical perspective. These artifacts, even those more than 200 years old, show that the concepts they’re currently learning aren’t necessarily brand new and unique, and that they cross cultures.”

India Bells - Wellness Center historical collection

The more than 70 pieces in the collection come to NWTC courtesy of Dr. Francis Ardito, a professor in the Biological and Health Sciences Division at the College of Lake County in Illinois. The artifacts were amassed over the years from estate sales, auctions and other sources, both in the United States and abroad. Dr. Ardito donated his collection after learning about NWTC’s commitment to training students for careers in the emerging wellness field. In January 2013, the College opened the doors to the Green Bay Packers Wellness Center at NWTC, with classrooms and lab space dedicated to several new programs in health and wellness promotion.

The Dr. Francis Ardito Collection of Wellness and Health Promotion Artifacts is currently being integrated into heath sciences courses at NWTC and is open to the public with a prior reservation. Those interested in seeing the collection should call 920-498-5513.

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