It’s the first day of #ColorOurCollections, a week-long special collections coloring fest we’re organizing on social media. More than 50 institutions (see our growing list) will share images from their collections for you to download and color from now through Friday. You are invited to share your results using the hashtag.
Every day on our blog, we will feature two #ColorOurCollections coloring sheets from our library, along with content from participants worldwide. You can also download our full #ColorOurCollections coloring book.
Our first coloring sheet shows the five types of unicorns depicted in Pierre Pomet’s 1694 Histoire generale des drogues. The horns of these mythical creatures were believed to have medicinal properties, although, as Pomet admits, “unicorn horn” was usually the tusk of a narwhal. For more on Pomet and unicorns, read this blog post.
Our second coloring sheet features another horned animal, found in Gesner’s Historia animalium, Liber I. As we know, rhinoceroses do not have horns on their backs; Gesner’s rhino can be traced back to a 1515 print by Albrecht Durer, which was unsurprisingly not drawn from life. As unicorns and horned-back rhinos don’t exist, there’s no need to strive for realism. We’d love to see the most fantastically colorful beasts you can imagine!
We are thrilled that special collections across the pond agreed to join #ColorOurCollections, even with the Americanized spelling in the hashtag. Last week, the University of Strathclyde’s Archives and Special Collections, Europeana, and the Bodleian Libraries all released coloring books. Click on each organization to download, print, and color.
How do special collections decide which images to select for coloring? James Madison University Libraries Special Collections described their process on their blog. We especially love the Alice and Wonderland title page. Download their full coloring book.
Our final feature of the day comes from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries who will keep you coloring for years! Enjoy their unbelievable Flickr album with more than 1,000 images representing their member libraries. Still want more? Enjoy the coloring sheets on their Pinterest board, which you can also download in coloring book form.
Keep following #ColorOurCollections on your favorite social media outlets. And take a look at our Pinterest boards, where we are pinning images shared by participating special collections along with images colored by fans.