Taking note of the adult coloring book craze, museums and libraries worldwide have converted works of art and illustrations from rare books into black and white, high resolutions PDF files. The coloring pages, some gathered into complete coloring books, are available for download free of charge. The wide array of coloring pages offers hours of entertainment and education to fill the bleak winter days of February. The #ColorOurCollections campaign, which is running Feb. 1 – 5 on social media, is the brainchild of The New York Academy of Medicine who proposed the idea last month.
The public domain images have something for everyone including ancient and medieval works of art, floral motifs, historical maps and images from nature. The Oregon Health Sciences University is offering up some creepy skeleton drawings from their historical collections and archives. The Bodleian Libraries at Oxford released intricate illustrations from medieval manuscripts that will challenge the fine motor skills of the most enthusiastic coloring artist.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library has posted an eclectic assortment of flora and fauna illustrations on their Flickr site. Something that may be of interest to grade school teachers, the Dittrick Medical History Center at Case Western Reserve University offers some bizarre illustrations from their rare books collection, including a 1491 illustration of lice removal procedures of the time.
Other participating institutions include The New York Public Library, The Smithsonian, The New York Academy of Medicine and The Digital public Library of America. For a complete list of participating institutions, search for coloring pages and books on social media using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.