Free Coloring Books from 101 World-Class Libraries & Museums: Download and Color Hundreds of Free Images

The free, downloadable adult coloring books that the New York Academy of Medicine solicits from museums and university and state libraries for its #ColorOurCollections celebration each February enliven our month far more than any Valentine or Presidents Day sale.

They’re not just a great way to while away winter’s last gasp. They’re also a wonderful portal for discovering cultural institutions that have thusfar flown beneath our radar, owing to size, geography, and/or field of study.

It’s up to each institution to determine what – and how much – to include.

Some color inside the lines by sticking to the subject for which they’re best known. Most take more of a mixed bag approach, flinging a variety of fascinating, unrelated images at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Some offerings are but a single page. Others will have you wearing your crayons to nubs.

With 101 participating organizations, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Maybe we can help…

Is medicine your thing?

If so, you’re in luck. By our reckoning, that’s the most popular subject, though it spans a broad range, from line drawings of flowering medicinal plants and a reproduction of a 1998 American Society of Anesthesiologists coloring book for pediatric patients, to flayed cadavers and harrowing surgical vignettes from centuries gone by.

The pages below come compliments of Stanford Medical History Center’s Lane Library, McGill University’s Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye, the only free, public museum dedicated to the fascinating science of sight.

Is architecture more your area of interest?

Glessner House, Western University, and the University of Barcelona have plans for you!

Does coloring make your nostalgic for childhood?

The South Carolina State Library, the University of Calgary, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have you covered with charming illustrations from Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Wonder Stories, Dr. Dolittle’s Circus, and Heroes of the Kalevala

Do you have only a few minutes to spare…or a preschooler in need of simpler graphics?

We get it, and so do the Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, the Bibliothèque municipale de Soissons, and the Harvard Art Museums.

It’s always a joy to see who’s behind the year’s freakiest image.

This year, our vote goes to the Bibliothèque Mazarine, France’s oldest public library, but feel free to put forth other candidates in the comments section

Begin your explorations of 2022’s coloring books here. See how others have colored these pages by exploring the hashtag #ColorOurCollections on social media.


2022’s Participating Institutions

New York Academy of Medicine Library

AIA Nashville Society & Nashville Parthenon

American Geographical Society Library – UW Milwaukee

Biblioteca de la Universidad de Zaragoza

Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé – Université de Paris

Bibliothèque Les Champs Libres

Bibliothèque d’étude et de conservation de Besançon

La Bibliothèque Mazarine

Bibliothèque multimédia intercommunale d’Épinal

Bibliothèque municipale de Soissons

Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University Libraries)

The Burylin Ivanovo Museum of Local History

Central Children’s Library of Belgorod District

Centralna pravosodna knjižnica – Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia Central Judicial Library

CEP Santa Cruz de Tenerife

CollEx études ibériques, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

CRAI Library at University of Barcelona

Denver Botanic Gardens

DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Fairfield University

Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives

Eton College Library


Fairfield University Art Museum

Free Library of Philadelphia Special Collections Division

Gladstone’s Library

Glessner House

Harley-Davidson Archives

Harvard Art Museums

Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

Jeleniogórskie Centrum Informacji i Edukacji Regionalnej Książnica Karkonoska

Kentucky Historical Society

Leonard H. Axe Library, Pittsburg State University

Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary

Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Library of Virginia

Lithuanian National Museum of Art

Maine State Library

Mann Library, Cornell University

Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Abraham Pollen Archives

Massachusetts General Hospital Archives & Special Collections

McGill Library (Osler Library of the History of Medicine)

Médiathèque Jacques-Chirac, Troyes Champagne Métropole

Médiathèque Pierre-Amalric

Medical Heritage Library

Memoria Chilena

Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna w Sosnowcu

Moody Medical Library

Museum of the Order of St. John

Museum Plantin-Moretus

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

New Jersey State House

Norfolk Arts/a>

North Carolina Museum of Art

Northern Illinois University


Princeton University Library

Providence College Archives & Special Collections, Phillips Memorial Library

Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library

Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

Royal College of Physicians London

Royal Horticultural Society Libraries

Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives

Saint Francis de Sales Parish History Archives Coloring Book 2022

Seton Hall University Libraries

SHSU Special Collections, Newton Gresham Library

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

South Carolina State Library

Stanford Medical History Center, Lane Library

Stanford University Libraries

State Universal Scientific Library of Krasnoyarsk Territory

Stratford Hall

Subcarpathian Digital Library

Swedenborg Library of Bryn Athyn College

Toronto Public Library

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye

UCC Library, University College Cork

University of British Columbia Library

University of California San Francisco Archives and Special Collections

University of Dayton Libraries

University of Illinois Chicago Special Collections and University Archives

University of Kansas Libraries

University Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

University of Nevada, Reno Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Université de Perpignan Via Domitia

University of South Florida Libraries

University of Waterloo Special Collections & Archives

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Special Collections

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Villa Bernasconi

Washington State Library

Western University Archives and Special Collections

West Virginia & Regional History Center

William L. Clements Library

Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago

Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology

Yaroslavl Regional Universal Scientific Library named after N. A. Nekrasov

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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