The adult coloring craze isn’t just a passing fad. Our love of filling in black-and-white line drawings goes back as far as the 18th century; it's only recently, however, that the adult coloring book trend was reinvigorated and seen as a way to unwind from our busy, connected lives. Bridging the gap between history and contemporary culture is the Color Our Collections campaign, in which libraries and museums from around the world invite you to reimagine their acquisitions in vibrant hues.
Organized by The New York Academy of Medicine Library, there are over 100 institutions that have compiled free adult coloring books as well as free coloring book pages for download. Each reflects the materials that they hold in their collections. The range of participating organizations and their available subject matter is impressive; from rare books to scientific diagrams to ornate Art Nouveau, there is truly something for everyone—and hours upon hours of relaxing entertainment.
If you’re looking for somewhere to begin, check out one of our favorite coloring books by The Newberry Library. Its offerings include an illustration that appears in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Museums and libraries around the world participate in the Color Our Collections campaign. For it, they create free adult coloring books with free printable coloring pages, based on items from their collections.
Over 100 institutions participate in the creative campaign. Here are some of them:
- The New York Botanical Garden Coloring Book
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art Coloring Book
- American Bookbinders Museum Coloring Book
- National Library of Medicine Coloring Book
- Royal College of Physicians
- Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, University of Minnesota Libraries
- Boston Children’s Hospital
- Cambridge University Library Coloring Book
- The New York Public Library Coloring Book
- OHSU Historical Collections & Archives Coloring Sheets
And here's some of the types of pages to color. There's something for everyone, depending on your interests.
Color Our Collections: Website