Postcards of the Holy Land: kaleidoscopic heritage offered by a modern global object

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This article examines the heritage potential of postcards following the donation of the David Pearlman Holy Land Postcard Collection to the Folklore Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The heritagisation of postcards is attributed to the transformation in the meaning of postcards from a souvenir or a communication device to a collectable through Pearlman’s cataloguing and classification practices, as well as in the process of the institutionalisation of his collection and its digitisation. The value of postcards as a heritage object is discussed through an analysis of ‘used’ postcards produced around the June 1967 War. It discloses momentary incomplete but heterogeneous networks of a mobile object. Considering the ways in which local situations are practiced as part of a global modernity, I argue that the heritage of postcards manifests their innate mobility; they are both tangible material objects and intangible in the way they engage with postal practices. Each postcard in its mobile existence offers a fragment of an experience that ties myths and history to its present. The potential value of the Pearlman collection lies in the way many such fragments are available at once, reflecting one another as a kaleidoscopic heritage.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)441-466
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023


  • Postcards
  • actor-network theory
  • collections
  • intangible heritage
  • kaleidoscopic heritage
  • mobility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Conservation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


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