Wells Hall is an integral part of the Northwest Missouri State University campus. It was originally built as the Library, serving as a hub for academic research and learning. However, with the growth of the university and the expansion of academic programs, the building evolved into a central location for various departments, faculties, and resources. Today, Wells Hall is home to the School of Speech and Communication, Theatre, Modern Languages, Broadcasting, and Journalism. Students attending these programs can enjoy modern classrooms, state-of-the-art equipment, and professional studios, all housed within the historic walls of Wells Hall.
In addition to academic spaces, Wells Hall is also home to several unique and exciting resources. One of these is the Warren Stucki Museum of Broadcasting, which celebrates the history and development of broadcasting in the United States. The museum contains a vast collection of vintage radios, televisions, recording equipment, and other artifacts that demonstrate the evolution of communication technologies. Visitors to the museum can experience hands-on exhibits and interactive displays that showcase radio dramas, commercials, and other media from the past.
Other resources housed within Wells Hall include the English as a Second Language Program, which provides language instruction for non-native English speakers, and the Northwest Missourian student newspaper and Tower yearbook, which offer opportunities for students to gain valuable experience in journalism and media production. Finally, the building is also home to KZLXLPFM, KXCV/KRNW-FM, and KNWT-TV studios, which provide students with opportunities to work on real-world broadcasting projects and gain practical experience in their chosen fields.
Close up of Wells Hall Communication Building
Wells Hall Communication Building
Backstory and Context
Wells Hall, situated on the Northwest Missouri State University campus, has a rich history that dates back to the Great Depression era. When the country was grappling with one of the worst economic crises in history, the government launched several New Deal programs aimed at providing jobs and stimulating the economy. One such program was the Public Works Administration, which funded the construction of Wells Hall in 1936.
The three-story building was initially designed to serve as the campus library, a reflection of the importance of education and knowledge during that time. After three years of construction, Wells Hall was dedicated in 1939 by the Governor, along with another building to house the laboratory school.
For almost five decades, Wells Hall served as the heart of the campus library system, providing students with access to books, journals, and other educational resources. However, as the University grew, it became clear that a new library was needed to accommodate the increasing student population. In 1986, the B.D. Owens Library was built, and Wells Hall was repurposed into classrooms and offices.
The University's Communication, Theatre, Modern Languages, and Mass Communication departments found a new home in Wells Hall after the renovation. The building also houses several student publications, including the Northwest Missourian newspaper and the Tower yearbook. Additionally, the English as a Second Language Program is located here, providing international students with the necessary support to succeed academically.
One of the most fascinating features of Wells Hall is the Warren Stucki Museum of Broadcasting, located on the second floor. The museum is a testament to the evolution of broadcasting, from the early days of wired and wireless communication to the digital era of today. Warren Stucki, a radio enthusiast from Savannah, Missouri, donated his personal collection of vintage radio sets and other artifacts, which became the foundation of the museum.
Visitors to the museum can see a mock-up of a 1940s-era radio station, complete with old-time radio dramas and commercials. They can also listen to President Franklin Roosevelt's historic Fireside Chats over an authentic 1930s living room console. The museum houses several pieces of equipment that played a significant role in the development of radio, including a working Edison phonograph from circa 1900 and vintage television gear and recording equipment.
Wells Hall has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a library. Today, it serves as a hub of academic and creative activity on campus, providing students with access to some of the best resources in the field of communication and journalism. With the Warren Stucki Museum of Broadcasting as a crown jewel, Wells Hall continues to inspire generations of students to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.
Wells Hall, Northwest Missouri State University- Maryville, MO, The Living New Deal. Accessed April 2nd, 2023. https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/wells-hall-northwest-missouri-state-university-maryville-mo/.
DH Northwest. Northwest Stories. Accessed March 22nd, 2023. Northweststories.org.
Northwest Digital Archives
Northwest Missourian Archives
Brandon-Falcone, Janice. Transitions: A Hundred Years of Northwest (1905-2005). Maryville, MO. Northwest Missouri State University, 2005.
Northwest Missouri State University Photo Shelter
Northwest Missouri State University Photo Shelter