We first shared this post in early 2019, long after the peak of the , maybe try some colouring? But like, highbrow colouring.
Over a hundred museums and libraries around the world make colouring books based on their collections for the Colour Our Collections program, led by the New York Academy of Medicine. Along with the previous annual collections, there are now 509 PDF colouring books you can print out. Here are some of our favourites.
These are just screencaps; you can see a full-size PDF in the link below each picture. The pages vary in subject and level of detail, but the museums have taken care to keep images kid-friendly. (There is some medieval violence and religious scenes, if that’s something you want to screen before you send your kids to the site.)
Some of the books are just a couple of pages, others longer, and some include thumbnails of the full-colour originals. They all name image sources, and they all use public domain images that are legal to reuse.
From Journal des dames et des modes, an illustration by Gerda Wegener, in the British Library Colouring Book 2019.
Art by Andrew Lang from The Red Book of Animal Stories, in the Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary Collections Colouring Book 2019.
A chimera from Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum Historia, in the Bernard Becker Medical Library Colouring Book 2019.
A scene from Conradin: A philosophical ballad by C. Ashbee and Philip Mairet, in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Special Collections Colouring Book 2019.
Illustration from Dionisio Catón’s Cato et contemptus, in the Biblioteca de la Universidad de Zaragoza Colouring Book 2019.
Colour Our Collections | NYAM
This post was originally published in February 2019. It was updated in August 2020. Changes included a new introduction and updating the total of colouring books available through the program.