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Color Our Collections for 2022

Calling all coloring enthusiasts! #ColorOurCollections is back for 2022 and we have ten new coloring pages just for you. Whether you want to bring polychromatic glory to old black-and-white photos or scribble in vintage fashion plates, you’ll find a little something for everyone in our new packet. Download it now!

During Color Our Collections, organized by the New York Academy of Medicine, cultural institutions from around the world provide inspiration and free coloring sheets for artists of all ages. At-home artists can share their creations on social media by tagging the organization and using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. Our coloring book uses images that are freely available in our Digital LibraryBiodiversity Heritage Library, and Smithsonian Institution Archives collections.

Curious about the stories behind the pictures? Here’s the scoop on the first two pages.


Coloring page with four bird heads.
Coloring page featuring Robert Ridgway Bird Head Drawings #189, #197, #209, #222. Smithsonian Institution Archives,  Record Unit 7167. Download the full coloring book.


Robert Ridgway Bird Head Drawings #189, #197, #209, #222.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7167.

These little birdies were illustrated by Robert Ridgway and Henry W. Elliott for publications by Spencer Baird, Dr. Thomas M. Brewer, and Ridgway. A bird expert mentored by Baird, Ridgway was appointed ornithologist on the staff of the United States National Museum in 1874 and earned a role as curator by 1880. Ridgway became a prolific author and illustrator of bird books and developed several guides to help fellow natural history writers accurately depict color.

Coloring page with horse-like sea creature.
Coloring page featuring “Equus marinus monstrus” from Monstrorum historia (1642). Download the full coloring book.


Ulisse Aldrovandi
“Equus marinus monstrus”
Vlyssis Aldrouandi patricii Bononiensis Monstrorum historia
Bononiae : Typis Nicolai Tebaldini, MDCXLII [1642]

This lively merhorse is one of several fantastic beasts in Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum historia (1642). The work features illustrations of mythological creatures as well as reported genetic anomalies. Monstrorum historia was gifted to the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology by Dr. J. Bruce Beckwith along with 800 works related to teratology. It’s featured in our current exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect.

You’ll rarely hear us say this but in this instance it’s true: We hope you enjoy coloring in our books! Share your creations via social media and tag us (@SILibraries on Twitter and Instagram). We can’t wait to see what vibrant combinations you come up with.

Graphic cover for Color Our Collections 2022 coloring book.
Cover of Color Our Collections 2022 coloring book. Download the full coloring book.

Further Reading:

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