This #Hamont Instagram account is doing great things


If you’ve grown up in Hamilton and attended the city’s public schools, or if you’re just interested in the city’s history, might I suggest that you check out this Instagram account?

The HWDSB Educational Archives account (@hwdsbedarchives) is a must-follow for Hamiltonians, even if you didn’t attend our public schools.

When one pictures the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s (HWDSB) archive department, images of dust collecting on long-forgotten microfilms, overhead projectors and phonics workbooks pop into mind.

In fact, the HWDSB has one of the largest collections of archives for a public school board in North America and the majority of it has been meticulously maintained.

The collection was originally stored at Vincent Massey School on the East Mountain. In recent years, though, the collection has moved to Hill Park.

Much of the collection also underwent the process of becoming digitized under the guidance of Ben Dyment, a member of the board’s archival team.

In this process of giving old videos and photographs a more permanent life on a digital platform, the archives team started to share some of the images they were coming across on Instagram.

The result is this clever, insightful, informative and thoroughly entertaining glimpse at the history of education in Hamilton.

For the most part, they share old photos of schools and students and pictures of class assignments, field trips and assemblies.

At Halloween, followers were treated to a barrage of pictures of students through the years dressed up in their costumes — some of them are really creepy.

There’s also the picture of the Easter Bunny meeting students at the long-gone Fairfield school that will burn a hole in your soul.

What’s surprising about their posts, though, is how much detail they are able to dig up about what we’re seeing. In many, they have the names of students even.

The team also allows followers to get a glimpse behind the scenes of the archives department.

In some of them, the department’s mannequin mascot, Elaine, is a frequent subject, modelling fashions from a bygone era or showing off her school spirit in an old T-shirt.

One of my favourite posts is from early in December when the department celebrated their 500th follower.

The HWDSB archives account is one of the most engaging and informative #HamOnt Instagram accounts out there.

It’s so easy to get lost in the pictures, looking to see if you can recognize anyone or remembering what it was like to be a young student in the city.

Give them a follow. Even if you weren’t a student, there’s a lot to enjoy.

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