Through One Child’s Eyes: Medical Missionaries in Nigeria in the 1960s

Through One Child’s Eyes: Medical Missionaries in Nigeria in the 1960s

January 25 - April 1, 2016

Special Collections Gallery, 4th floor

J. Paul Leonard Library
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave

In the summer of 1961, Texas physician, Gerald Gene Pitman, moved his wife and three young daughters from Waco, Texas to West Africa. Under the auspices of the Foreign Mission Board, Gene worked as a Baptist medical missionary conducting life-saving surgery and providing general medical care for local communities at Baptist hospitals established in Nigeria. In 1967, when escalating regional conflict made it unsafe to remain in the area, the Pitman family returned to the United States, unaware that their time in Africa had come to a close.

Through a selected display of archival images, documents, and locally purchased decorative arts and crafts, this exhibition focuses on the medical work and daily life of Dr. Gene and Mrs. Ann Pitman, and the impact the experience of living in Nigeria had on their young daughters. Contextualization of the Pitman collection draws attention to a critical period during the emergence of modern Africa, where religion, transculturation, western medicine, and global politics converge through the lens of the personal experience of the Pitman family.

Guest curated by Bianca Finley Alper, Visual Resource Specialist with curatorial advisors Prof. Trevor Getz, PhD, Department of History and Director, Initiative for Public Humanities and Prof. Edward Luby, PhD, Director, Museum Studies Graduate Program and Director and Chief Curator, The Global Museum.

This exhibition is made possible by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts, the Museum Studies Program, the Department of History, the J. Paul Leonard Library, an anonymous donor, SF State Foundation Board member and University benefactor, Laurie Pitman, and the loan of the Bay Area based Pitman Family Collection to San Francisco State University.

Exhibit Discussion & Opening Reception

Tuesday, February 2nd, 4:30-7:30 pm

Organized by: 

J. Paul Leonard Library, Museum Studies Program, Department of History

Spotlight Exhibit Monday, February 01, 2016