117 Museums Have Made Thousands of Coloring Book Pages Free To Download

published Apr 10, 2020
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coloring page with colored pencils
Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

It’s not every day you could scribble on priceless art and get away with it.

Hoping to get more people to get into the arts, various academic institutions, museums, and libraries have been, for the last four years, holding their annual #ColorOurCollections project. First launched by the New York Academy of Medicine Library (NYAM), the initiative invites all to turn thousands of black-and-white artworks into coloring books.

The project has over a hundred participating institutions—117 this year, to be exact—making for a diverse portfolio of coloring book pages. For instance, you can find vintage motorcycle posters over at the Harley-Davidson archives, traditional Japanese art from the Kansai University Open Research Center for Asian Studies, and postcards from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

Other images in the vast collection include advertisements, medieval illustrations of plants and animals, fairy tales, and even medical sketches of skeletons and organs, among others.

With most of us stuck indoors and filled with anxiety due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, #ColorOurCollection presents not only a fresh way to pass the time, but also a highly-beneficial way as well. According to experts, the simple activity of adult coloring reduces stress, improves motor skills and vision, and improves sleep and focus.

“We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals,” clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D told Cleveland Clinic. “The difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness, and both our bodies and our brains may find this rewarding.”