Download Free Coloring Books from 113 Museums

One can only col­or so many flo­ral-trimmed affir­ma­tions before one begins to crave some­thing slight­ly more per­verse. An ema­ci­at­ed, naked, anthro­po­mor­phized man­drake root, say or…

Thy wish is our com­mand, but be pre­pared to hus­tle, because today is the final day of Col­or Our Col­lec­tions, a com­pelling­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic ini­tia­tive on the part of the New York Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine.

Since 2016, the Acad­e­my has made an annu­al prac­tice of invit­ing oth­er libraries, archives, and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions around the world to upload PDF col­or­ing pages based on their col­lec­tions for the pub­lic’s free down­load.

This year 113 insti­tu­tions took the bait.

Our host, the New York Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine kicks things off with the afore­men­tioned man­drakes, and then some.

Med­ical sub­jects are a pop­u­lar theme here. You’ll find plen­ty of organs and oth­er rel­e­vant details to col­or, com­pli­ments of Boston’s Count­way Library’s Cen­ter for the His­to­ry of Med­i­cineLondon’s Roy­al Col­lege of Physi­cians, and the His­tor­i­cal Med­ical Library of The Col­lege of Physi­cians of Philadel­phia (aka the Müt­ter Muse­um).

The col­or­ing book of the Richard­son-Sloane Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Cen­ter at the Dav­en­port Pub­lic Library is a bit more all-ages. They cer­tain­ly remind me of my child­hood. The work of native son, Patrick J. Costel­lo, above, fig­ures heav­i­ly here. Either he deserves a lot of cred­it for devel­op­ing the School House Rock aes­thet­ic, or he was one of a num­ber of hard work­ing illus­tra­tors tap­ping into the cartoon‑y, thick-nibbed zeit­geist

The Andover-Har­vard The­o­log­i­cal Library’s col­or­ing book has some divine options for those who would use their col­or­ing pages as DIY 16th-cen­tu­ry book­plates or alpha­bet primers.

Those who need some­thing more com­plex will appre­ci­ate the intri­cate maps of the Lithuan­ian Art Museum’s col­or­ing book. Col­or­ing Franz Hogenberg’s 1581 map of Vil­nius is the emo­tion­al equiv­a­lent of walk­ing the labyrinth for god knows how many hours.

As befits a con­tent web­site-cum-dig­i­tal-Nation­al-Library, the Memo­ria Chile­na Col­or­ing Book 2019 has some­thing for every taste: flayed anatom­i­cal stud­ies, 1940’s fash­ions, curi­ous kit­ty cats, and a heap­ing help­ing of jesters.

Check out all your options here.

Once you’ve had your way with the Cray­olas, please share your cre­ations with the world, using the hash­tag #Col­or­Our­Col­lec­tions.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing Insti­tu­tions 2019

The New York Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine Library

Roy­al Col­lege of Physi­cians, Lon­don

OHSU His­tor­i­cal Col­lec­tions & Archives

Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Mil­wau­kee Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Swarth­more Col­lege Libraries

South Car­oli­na State Library

Shenan­doah Coun­ty Library, Truban Archives

Bib­liote­ca de la Uni­ver­si­dad de Zaragoza

Christ’s Col­lege Library, Cam­bridge

Tow­er Hill Botan­ic Gar­den

Uni­ver­si­ty of Water­loo Spe­cial Col­lec­tions & Archives

Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty & Research

Brunel Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Hawaii State Foun­da­tion on Cul­ture and the Arts

Wash­ing­ton State Library

Saint Fran­cis de Sales Parish Unit­ed by the Most Blessed Sacra­ment Parish His­to­ry Archives

Get­ty Research Insti­tute

Auck­land Muse­um

Loy­ola Uni­ver­si­ty Chica­go Archives & Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Seton Hall Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries

Bib­lio­theque interuni­ver­si­taire de Sante, Paris

Dig­i­tal Library at Vil­lano­va Uni­ver­si­ty

West Vir­ginia and Region­al His­to­ry Cen­ter

Bass Library, Yale Uni­ver­si­ty Library

Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas Libraries

Med­ical Her­itage Library

The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty Health Sci­ences Library

Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts Amherst Libraries

Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions and Uni­ver­si­ty Archives

Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia Library

Nation­al Library of Med­i­cine

Sci­ence His­to­ry Insti­tute

Rick­er Library of Archi­tec­ture and Art at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois

Chau­tauqua Insti­tu­tion Archives

Bib­lio­theque et Archives nationales du Que­bec

The LuEs­ther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den

Auburn Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions and Archives

Open Muse­um, Acad­e­mia Sini­ca Cen­ter for Dig­i­tal Cul­tures

Les Champs Libres

Lithuan­ian Art Muse­um

Memo­ria Chile­na

Bar­ret Library, Rhodes Col­lege

Wales High­er Edu­ca­tion Libraries Forum (WHELF)

Roy­al Anthro­po­log­i­cal Insti­tute

Delaware Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry

James Madi­son Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries

Utah State Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries Spe­cial Col­lec­tions & Archives

Stevens Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy / Archives & Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

War­ing His­tor­i­cal Library of the Med­ical Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na

Bernard Beck­er Med­ical Library at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis

Uni­ver­si­ty of Puget Sound

Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege of Med­i­cine Lega­cy Cen­ter Archives and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Queens’ Col­lege Library, Cam­bridge

Stadt­bib­lio­thek Koeln

Andover-Har­vard The­o­log­i­cal Library

Rare Book and Man­u­script CRAI Library at Uni­ver­si­ty of Barcelona

New­ber­ry Library

His­tor­i­cal Med­ical Library of The Col­lege of Physi­cians of Philadel­phia

Lam­beth Palace Library

Fol­ger Shake­speare Library

Uni­ver­si­ty of Glas­gow Archives and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

John J. Burns Library

Bio­di­ver­si­ty Her­itage Library

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa Libraries, Iowa Dig­i­tal Library

Ten­nessee State Muse­um

Cen­ter for the His­to­ry of Med­i­cine, Count­way LIbrary

Russ­ian State Library

South Car­oli­na His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety

Library Com­pa­ny of Philadel­phia

The Burke Library at Union The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary

Pratt Insti­tute Archives

The Chil­dren’s Muse­um of Indi­anapo­lis

Wan­gen­steen His­tor­i­cal Library of Biol­o­gy and Med­i­cine, Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Libraries

Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries Julian Edi­son Depart­ment of Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Libraries and Cul­tur­al Resources, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary

Leonard H. Axe Library, Pitts­burg State Uni­ver­si­ty

Susque­han­na Uni­ver­si­ty, Blough-Weis Library

Richard­son-Sloane Spe­cial Col­lec­tions Cen­ter, Dav­en­port Pub­lic Library

Den­ver Pub­lic Library, West­ern His­to­ry and Geneal­o­gy

Find­lay-Han­cock Coun­ty Pub­lic Library

North­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty

Escuela Supe­ri­or de Artes de Yucatan

Lake Coun­ty Pub­lic Library

Unit­ed Nations Library Gene­va

Jele­niorskie Cen­trum Infor­ma­cji i Edukacji Region­al­nej Ksi­azni­ca Karkonos­ka

Women and Lead­er­ship Archives, Loy­ola Uni­ver­si­ty Chica­go

Grand Portage Nation­al Mon­u­ment Archives Col­lec­tion

Jagiel­lon­ian Library

Botan­i­cal Research Insti­tute of Texas

Uni­ver­si­ty of North Texas Libraries

Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty Libraries Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Rare Book and Man­u­script Library at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign

Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal Archives & Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Clark Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, McDer­mott Library, USAFA

Bib­lio­theque nationale de France

Cen­tre for Chi­nese Con­tem­po­rary Art Archive & Library

Shangri La Muse­um of Islam­ic Art, Cul­ture & Design

British Library

West­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Archives and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions


Den­ver Botan­ic Gar­dens

Med­Chi, The Mary­land State Med­ical Soci­ety

Grin­nell Col­lege Libraries

Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more Coun­ty (UMBC)

His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety of Penn­syl­va­nia

Nation­al Library of Rus­sia

East­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions & Archives


Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

New York State Library

North Car­oli­na Pot­tery Cen­ter

Roy­al Hor­ti­cul­tur­al Soci­ety Libraries

Library of Vir­ginia

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  See her onstage in New York City this Mon­day as host of  The­ater of the Apes book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (37)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • William Geiger says:

    Thank you very much. I am shar­ing with enthu­si­asts with high stress jobs.

  • Roseana Freire da Silva says:

    Quero rece­ber o livro para col­orir

  • Anila Xhufi says:

    Love col­or­ing

  • Cathy says:

    I see that some links are still active, but oth­ers aren’t. I know this was only a Feb­ru­ary event, but as many peo­ple are Social Dis­tanc­ing, as many schools have announced month long clo­sures, as many peo­ple are look­ing for ways to be less anx­ious dur­ing these very anx­ious times.… Would these insti­tu­tions be inter­est­ed in re-releas­ing these col­or­ing pages to the pub­lic?

  • Christy says:

    Agreed! I can’t get any of these links to actu­al­ly work — and now would be the per­fect time for this!

  • Mary Hanrahan says:

    Please make more of your links oper­a­tional. This is fan­tas­tic.

  • María Navia says:

    I want to receive the book.

    Best regards.


  • Leslie says:

    Fel­low com­menters, please notice that this whole thing end­ed in 2019, not 2020, which is like­ly why so few of these links are still work­ing.

  • Mary henry says:

    Where do tour guides and tem­po­rary fig­ure in this?

  • Cynthia Bruce says:

    Please extend the down­load of the col­or­ing book dates.….I am a shut- in with lung disease…also a nurse…would love to tap into the won­der of plea­sure, knowl­edge and col­or, explore.….
    Thank you!!!!Cynthia Bruce

  • Maria says:

    Hey all, if you go to the sec­ond para­graph in the arti­cle and click on the link for Col­or Our Col­lec­tions, it takes you to the page with all the col­or­ing books, and if you click on each of those, it opens the PDF, which you can then down­load. There are 11 pages of col­or­ing book choic­es going back sev­er­al years (hun­dreds of them), and as far as I could tell, they’re all still active and avail­able. Give it a try and good luck. They are prob­a­bly get­ting tons of traf­fic.

  • Maria says:

    I tried to post the link direct­ly in an ear­li­er com­ment, but the com­ment went into mod­er­a­tion and has not been post­ed, so you need to link direct­ly from the arti­cle (sec­ond para­graph, the text that says Col­or Our Col­lec­tions.

  • Kary Lynn Vail says:

    Please make col­or­ing books avail­able espe­cial­ly dur­ing social iso­la­tion!

  • Laurie says:

    I tried your sug­ges­tion. I get this mes­sage, “ Error estab­lish­ing a data­base con­nec­tion.” I guess this is due to your com­ment about high traf­fic. Maybe it will work tomor­row. Thank you.

  • Sean Schloss says:

    In agree­ment with oth­er posters. A fab­u­lous idea for the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. Wash those hands!

  • Ieda Burnell says:

    Bril­liant idea!
    I would love to receive the book.
    Thank you!

  • Maria says:

    Hi Lau­rie,

    I was get­ting that mes­sage last night as well, but tried this morn­ing and it worked (though it took a while for the page to load), so I’m guess­ing it’s the increase in traf­fic. Keep try­ing — it’s worth it. There are a boat­load of col­or­ing books/pages. Good luck!

  • Katherine Tan says:


    I would love to receive a copy of this book.

    Thank you very much.

  • William Rois says:

    Great idea

  • Dona Beard says:

    Would like book too.

  • Patricia c says:

    I would absolute­ly love one!

  • Kasie Dailey says:

    The link to down­load does­n’t work

  • Sue Brucker says:

    Thank you so much Beth Krieger for this fab­u­lous link❣️


    Thank you, Maria! I was hav­ing trou­ble get­ting to it.

  • Peter Berger says:

    Thank you for this men­tal health cure that you were kind enough to share!!!!!.

  • Julie Lewis says:

    Ty, look­ing for­ward to doing the free col­or­ing.

  • Carolina Valéria Miranda Castilho says:

    I would love to receive a copy of this boook.
    Thank you very much

  • Randy Dresser Sr says:

    Thank you very much

  • Mansour AWAD says:

    I’d like to have a copy of this book

  • Khilola says:

    Wait­ing for some­thing to col­or

  • Khilola says:

    Wait­ing for some­thing to col­or thanks
    Wait­ing for it

  • Betsy Glass says:

    Down­load does not work. Have tried many times. Please send me an oper­a­tional DIRECT link at the above address. THANK YOU!!!! :)

  • Luna Nordstrom says:

    Please! Please! Reopen this col­or­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for those of us stuck at home for 2 weeks!!! Please! I’m so excit­ed to have time to do some col­or­ing!

  • Nanalee Raphael says:

    Folks, a more effec­tive way of ask­ing for the pages — since the project end­ed in Feb­ru­ary , is to click on New York Acad­e­my of Med­i­cine in the 2nd para­graph of the arti­cle. This takes you to their home­page, through which you can send an email with your request for the pages. Flood them with emails & maybe they’ll remount the work­ing links & pages. :)

  • Margret Herbers Butcher says:

    Oh please make the links live again … this would be total­ly great for all of us who are forced into iso­la­tion

  • Teresa Johnston says:

    I am very inter­est­ed in adult col­or­ing books from art muse­ums.

  • Marilyn Plummer says:

    Expired links! I am sad that I dis­cov­ered this too late. Social dis­tanc­ing is the respon­si­ble choice but, it’s get­ting hard­er each day.

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