Take out those colored pencils and play around with some of the open access images in our collections.

Color Our Collections 2021

Stuck inside and looking for a fun activity? Color the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives collections! 

This year, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives is joining cultural heritage institutions around the world in sharing free coloring pages featuring images in our collections. To get started, download and print the 2021 coloring book on the New York Academy of Medicine’s website. Once your masterpiece is finished, we’d love for you to share your work with us on social media using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections!  

Below, check out the pages highlighting images from the Smithsonian Institution Archives collections. Each of the five photographs has been designated as part of Smithsonian Open Access.   

Cover page of the coloring book, titled "Color Our Collections 2021." The title is in front of an Al

Download the entire coloring book. 

The cast of this 33-foot humpback whale had been exhibited at the United States National Museum since 1882. Its left side displayed a cast of a whale, while its right side exposed the mammal’s skeleton. Taxidermist Joseph Palmer, his son, William Palmer, and Smithsonian Secretary Spencer F. Baird were responsible for mounting the animal. To learn more about the history of whales at the Smithsonian, explore this post by Smithsonian Ocean.  

Page that includes a coloring page featuring an exhibit space at the US National Museum. A humpback

Download the page.

The Arts and Industries Building, originally known as the United States National Museum, opened to the public in October 1881. It was the first Smithsonian building created solely to house museum collections. In 1971, it was designated as a National Historic LandmarkLearn more about the history of the site and the collections it was home to on our website.  

Coloring page of the exterior of the Arts and Industries Building.

Download the page. 

The Statue of Freedom, the centerpiece of this image of the United States National Museum around the turn of the 20th century, first arrived at the Smithsonian in 1890. Between 1900 and 1967, it was displayed in the Building until it was moved to storage and transferred to the United States Capitol in 1992. Visitors can now view the statue in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Building.  

Coloring page featuring the rotunda of the Arts and Industries Building. That Statue of Freedom is p

Download the page. 

Is your reading pile looking like the library exhibit at the 1927 Conference on the Future of the SmithsonianSmithsonian Secretary Charles D. Walcott invited scientists, politicians, and academics to a conference at the Institution to help establish the Smithsonian’s first strategic plan. Staff exhibited their research and collections to demonstrate the Smithsonian’s value to the nation.  

Coloring page featuring a floor-to-ceiling stack of library books.

Download the page. 

In 1888, inventor Lucius Copeland pulled up to the Smithsonian Institution Building on this little hunny. A precursor to the motorcycle, this steam-powered three-wheeler could reach an average speed of 10 miles an hour. During this period of time, it was typical for scientists to demonstrate their latest innovations for Smithsonian staff. John Elfreth Watkins, curator of the transportation collection, Edwin H. Hawley, of the Department of Anthropology, and Frances Benjamin Johnston, a photojournalist, were all on site to view Copeland’s tricycle. Read more about the invention on our blog.  

Coloring page featuring a steam tricycle.

Download the page.

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