For a while there, adult coloring books were having a moment. Which makes sense. Coloring can be beneficial for adults, helping to relieve stress, improve focus and more.
And of course, coloring is also an excellent activity for young children. It teaches kids color recognition and improves their fine motor skills.
But if you and your kids are tired of filling in mandalas or coloring in mermaids and robots, there’s another option.
The Color Our Collections Program
Beginning in 2017, libraries, archives and other cultural institutions around the world began sharing free PDF coloring pages every February based upon the materials in their collections. Thanks to this Color Our Collections program, you can now download artwork from more than 100 museums and collections.
Some of the institutions participating in 2020 include:
- Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
- Royal College of Physicians, London
- Texas Tech Architecture Library
- Harley-Davidson Archives
- SUNY Fredonia Special Collections and Archives
As this small sampling of participants suggests, there is an eclectic collection of coloring pages to be found.
Instagram user Barbara Bieck (@basbieck) shared her favorite.
“I’m loving this takeaway from the Margaret Armstrong exhibit,” she posted.
The Colonial Williamsburg Instagram account shared a colored printout alongside the original artwork.
“Who wore it best?” they asked in their post. “Did anyone else color these portraits of Adam Stephen Dandridge and Elizabeth Thatcher Corbin Major Jameson?”
View this post on Instagram
Who wore it best? 😂 We had a great time coloring these works from Artists on the Move, an exhibition featuring more than 30 portraits by artists who traveled to meet their customers’ needs. . #ColorOurCollections continues! You can download free coloring sheets from The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, as well as libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. Link in our stories! . Did anyone else color these portraits of Adam Stephen Dandridge and Elizabeth Thatcher Corbin Major Jameson?
And this post from @mama_mishonka, filled with pages she printed out for her daughter, shows the wide range of artwork available:
View this post on Instagram
How to Download Coloring Pages
Although the images were officially released the week of February 3-7, 2020, you can still browse, download or print pages from the participating collections. Just go to the New York Academy of Medicine #ColorOurCollections page and click on the 2020 Participating Institutions tab. Select an institution from the Explore by Institution list.
You can also view past participant pages from the dropdown menu.
Select the institution you want and click on the book or coloring page you want to print. Select the Print button at the top of the PDF to print the coloring pages right away, or choose the Download button to save the pages to your computer.
With so many outstanding collections to choose from, there is truly something for everyone. So grab your crayons, sharpen your colored pencils and get coloring!