Gordon Gibson, Ethnologist

ID: SIA2013-03942

Creator: Sandved, Kjell Bloch 1922-

Form/Genre: Person, candid

Date: 1975

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95-013, Box 1, Folder: 1: A-Kier

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The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
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  • As he prepares several of his photographs for exhibition, Ethnologist Gordon Gibson of the Department of Anthropology in the National Museum of Natural History, standing to the left, compares a beaded headdress with one in his photo of Himba women of Namibia, which is located on the south Atlantic coast of Africa and previously known as South West Africa.
  • In 1958, Gibson joined the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Anthropology as its first curator of African ethnology. During the 1960s, he undertook a major renovation of the National Museum of Natural History's African exhibits, which had been on display since the 1920s. He helped establish the National Anthropological Film Center, now the Human Studies Film Archives, at the Smithsonian. During his tenure at the Natural History Museum, he served as acting chair of the Anthropology department. He also served as the first chair of the museum's Senate of Scientists (1963-64), chair of the museum's photographic facilities committee, and member of the Center for the Study of Man. In addition, he chaired a committee studying the feasibility of establishing a Museum of Man at the Smithsonian. Gibson conducted field work among the Herero and Himba in Botswana.


  • Gibson, Gordon D
  • Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Office of Anthropology
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Anthropology


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • Kjell Bloch Sandved of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), at the commission of Porter Kier, then Director, NMNH, prepared these photographic materials to document personnel and activities of NMNH in 1975.
  • For other images of Gordon Gibson, see negative numbers SIA2013-03940 and SIA2013-03941 (Neg. #92-1784)

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95-013, Box 1, Folder: 1: A-Kier

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Women
  • Clothing and dress
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnology
  • Headdresses
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Headgear
  • Photography
  • Artifacts
  • Costume
  • Personnel management
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Ethnologists
  • Exhibitions
  • African Dress
  • Anthropologists
  • Museum--employees
  • Photographs
  • Photography--Exhibitions
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


  • South-West Africa
  • Namibia
  • Africa


  • Person, candid
  • Slide

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 1w X 1 3.7h ; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Slide

Full Record

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