The Forteza Gymuseum

Gymuseum 1

The Gymuseum at the Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts studio in Ravenswood, Chicago is a unique “living museum” collection of antique physical culture apparatus, mostly dating from the period 1880-1910.

Many of the items on permanent display are functional and can be used in exercise classes, while some others are for viewing only.

The collection includes:

* an 1880s vintage cast-iron and oak rowing machine
* an assortment of classic cast-iron dumbbells and hardwood Indian clubs
* “Sandow” brand spring-loaded dumbbells in their original packing
* an “Italian pattern” broadsword fencing mask
* a wall-mounted pulley weightlifting machine
* a 1911 women’s gym suit
* a leather medicine ball
* a wooden exercise wand and rings
* an early boxing speed bag.

Gymuseum 2

Also on display is a gallery of antique prints showing combat athletes in training, as well as several large, photo-realistic reproduction posters featuring Bartitsu, boxing and the late-Victorian revival of historical fencing.

One thought on “The Forteza Gymuseum”

  1. Wow, it looks beautiful – I just love it! As a person who was “recruited” into the marvelous world of Bartitsu because of your research, outreach, and dissemination, it’s very exciting to imagine other people seeing this and getting inspired to learn about Victorian/Edwardian physical culture. Congratulations!

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