Woodcut engraving of an apothocary working in his shop.

Color Our Collections – National Library of Medicine

By Ginny A. Roth

Cover of the coloring book from the National Library of Medicine
Cover of the coloring book from the National Library of Medicine. The cover features the image Interior of apothecary shop, 1537. National Library of Medicine #101449292

In 2016, The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) launched a week-long, international, social media coloring event called, #ColorOurCollections, providing historical and cultural institutions the opportunity to share images from their collections in a new and interactive way.

Inspired by the recent adult coloring book trend, the event allows participating institutions to share their collections widely via their websites and social media, inviting the public to download and print their coloring books, which feature images from their archives, museums, libraries, and special collections. You can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and participate by commenting, sharing, downloading images, and tweeting your own colored creations. Read tweets from participating institutions and join the conversation.

Last year the National Library of Medicine (NLM) created a coloring book featuring 15 images from our historical collections and including descriptive information about each image. The coloring book also provides links to the original digitized files of each image in the Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) in NLM’s Digital Collections.

You can download NLM’s coloring book from the NLM website or from NYAM’s #ColorOurCollections website. You can also find them on our Pinterest board. Here is a selection of images from the coloring book.


Informal portrait of Ginny RothGinny A. Roth is the Curator of Prints & Photographs in the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine.

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