Leading museums and libraries offer gorgeous coloring books, free to download

Free coloring book from Cambridge University Library
Example pages of Cambridge University Library Coloring Book / Image: Color Our Collections
Color Our Collections project lets you download free coloring books based on collections from famous libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions.

Why should you buy the coloring book, if you can have it for free? And why should it include freshly-drawn pictures, if there are so many classic illustrations that are perfect for the coloring frenzy?

A year ago, The New York Academy of Medicine Library launched an exciting project that brings the best material from collections of several libraries and cultural institutions in the form of coloring books.

The initiative is called Color Our Collections. Participating institutions create coloring books, make them available for free as printable pdf documents, and share on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Users are asked to color the illustrations and share their creations with a hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

Originally, Color Our Collections was intended to be a week-long event in February 2016, but due to enormous popularity, the action was repeated this year, between February 6 and 10.

The best part is that all coloring books are still available online, and you can download them right now from Color Our Collections catalog.

Open Culture has a simple list that gathers all coloring books. There are almost 50 files to download, from such institutions as:

  • The New York Public Library,
  • Cambridge University Library,
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
  • Smithsonian Libraries,
  • Europeana,
  • Carnegie Hall.

Below, you’ll find a few examples of the illustrations, together with download links to coloring books they come from. Make sure to explore the entire collection on The New York Academy of Medicine Library website. And come back next year for more. We’re sure this project will be continued!

Need to color something? Make it classic.

Color Our Collections coloring books

1

Example page from Carnegie Hall Coloring Book

Example page from Carnegie Hall Coloring Book. ⇢ Download
full coloring book
.

2

Example page from Europeana Art Nouveau Coloring Book

Example page from Europeana Art Nouveau Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

3

Example page from Folger Shakespeare Library Coloring Book

Example page from Folger Shakespeare Library Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

4

Example page from Kansas State University Libraries Coloring Book

Example page from Kansas State University Libraries Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

5

Example page from Smithsonian Libraries Coloring Book

Example page from Smithsonian Libraries Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

6

Example page from Sosnowiec Public Library Coloring Book

Example page from Sosnowiec Public Library Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

7

Example page from University Library at UC Berkeley Coloring Book

Example page from University Library at UC Berkeley Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.

8

Example page from Cambridge University Library Coloring Book

Example page from Cambridge University Library Coloring Book. ⇢ Download full coloring book.
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