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)
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  • 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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