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Access these museums' full archive of free coloring books

Shaye Weaver

Hundreds of museums, libraries and archives from around the world have collaborated to create the coolest collection of free coloring books!

Called "Color Our Collections," the digital archive of line drawings span genres and eras, from the New York Academy of Medicine's "From Basilisks to Bezoars: The Surprising History of Harry Potter’s Magical World" collection to the Russian State Library's portraits of ballerinas—all ready for you to download with a click.

While other coloring books can be fun for kids and soothing for adults, these collections feature a lot of educational and artistic drawings done hundreds of years ago, including super cool Harry Potter-esque drawings of animal and plant species, dated medical sketches, incredible artistic renderings of life in other countries, retro advertisements, and so much more.

The New York Academy of Medicine, which started the worldwide collection in 2016, has a "robust set" of archives to peruse through, according to spokeswoman Kiri Oliver, including the recently launched Robert Matz Postcard Collection, which features historical postcards from hospitals across the five boroughs, which provide a fascinating window into NYC healthcare in the late 19th through mid-20th century; Anatomy and Surgery, which has key historical works from these fields, with stunningly intricate, sometimes full-color illustrations; the William H. Helfand Collection of Pharmaceutical Trade Cards features cards with beautiful, whimsical illustrations that were mainly used to advertise patent medicines (over-the-counter products that were often marketed as miracle cures for various ailments without any medical evidence)l and The Resurrectionists collection shares materials that tell the story of the infamous body-snatchers and murderers Burke and Hare.

For a week each February, libraries, museums and other institutions from across the globe share free coloring books featuring images from their collections, and invite their followers to color and upload their creations using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. Find your next coloring project at!

Need more things to occupy your time in quarantine? You could always take an art course with MOMA, learn to draw princesses with Disney or take an Instagram cooking class

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