200 SUMMIT RD KEENE, NH 03431   | 603.352.6002

Monday-Friday: 5am to 9pm, Saturday: 6am to 6pm, Sunday: 8am to 5pm

Monday-Friday: 5am to 9pm, Saturday: 6am to 6pm, Sunday: 8am to 5pm

Community event

The History of Gym Class

The Historical Society of Cheshire County and the Keene Family YMCA invite the public to attend its presentation, The History of Gym Class.

Date: Wednesday, September 25th

Time: 7pm

Place: Keene Family YMCA. 

The History of Gym Class

Dr. Rebecca Noel will explore the sometimes alarming, sometimes hilarious backstory of what we now know as gym class.

Physicians worried since the Renaissance that the sedentary, scholarly life makes people sick. They focused on varying concerns over time: digestive woes, melancholy, tuberculosis, spinal curvature, reproductive weakness. The problem widened along with access to education during the Enlightenment and into the 1800s. Tracing this idea from Europe to the United States, from scholars to children, and from boys’ to girls’ education, the presentation shows how these fears inspired schools to get children moving.

The (optional) interactive aspects of the presentation will include audience testing of historic exercise schemes, some done in pairs. The program concludes with audience discussion of the relevance of this problem to our own times-like the Enlightenment, a moment in history when suddenly many more people live the sedentary lives once limited to a few scholars.

Rebecca R. Noel is Professor of History at Plymouth State University. She holds an MA and PhD in American and New England Studies from Boston University and a BA in History from Yale University. She teaches history courses on the antebellum and Civil War era, American medicine, childhood, and the American West. Her book in progress is Save Our Scholars: The Quest for Health in American Schools.

The Historical Society of Cheshire County is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and communicating local history. www.hsccnh.org

This free public event was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at www.nhhumanities.org

For more information, please contact Kelly Fleuette at kfleuette@keene-ymca.org or 603.283.5240


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