Facebook Israel and The National Library of Israel are embarking on a joint project to mark the start of the school year: they were to upload to the social media network more than 1,000 pictures of Israeli schoolchildren taken from the 1950s to the 1990s so that users can tag themselves and tell the story behind the photos.
The historical photographs will be accessible starting Monday through the National Library’s Facebook page, the social media network said in a statement on Monday.
The Rare Photographs Collection at the National Library contains millions of photographs, many of which have very little information available about them. In many instances, the only details included are the time and place that the photograph was taken — for example, “Taken in Tel Aviv, 1974.”
The project aims to publicize the photos widely via Facebook, so those with knowledge of the people who are featured and the story behind the picture can contribute their information.
The initiative will help preserve their names in the archives of the National Library for future generations, along with the cultural treasures of the nation, the statement said.
The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel includes nearly 2.5 million photographs of Israel, both before and after the founding of the state in 1948.
The collection, which spans the course of 150 years, is the largest collection of photographs of Israel in the world. The Dan Hadani Collection, for example, which is part of the archive, is an archive of over a million photographs from nearly every important moment in Israel’s history.
Dan Hadani and his team of photographic journalists captured political events, wars and cultural events over the course of several decades. These photographers also accompanied young students to their first days of school, and were present at the end-of-year school celebrations and many others held for the students throughout the calendar year.
“The treasures that are preserved at the National Library are relevant to each and every one of us, and these adorable children who were photographed in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are actually us — Israelis living here today,” said Yaron Deutscher, Head of the Digital Department at the National Library. Through the collaboration with Facebook “we can reach out to all of these Israelis and include them in our collective national memory.”
“Our ability, in today’s digital world, to bring pieces of history to life, to tell the story of the country through the lens of a camera, is a great privilege,” said Adi Soffer Teeni, Facebook Israel director. “The Photographs Collection at the National Library tells the story of Israel at every stage and connects us to the people who were there. I hope that this project will enable us to identify the people and learn about the story behind these special and unique photographs.”