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Twitter screen capture

A twitter exchange between the BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library) and the New York Academy of Medicine has inspired a week long global event to encourage the public to access and create using images from their collections through 'colouring in activities. Starting at the beginning of February 2016 using the Hashtag #ColorOurCollections - Libraries, Museums and Galleries were invited to share their online images that might be suitable for colouring. Many of the Institutions have made their collections available as downloadable 'colouring books' in a pdf format, others have also posted or linked to suitable images on Flickr

Whilst 'colouring in' is often regarded as passive, uncreative, or as a filler educational activity, the real underlying value in this project is that it encourages engagement and a closer examination of the artefacts. It promotes an awareness of numerous institutions and the great content that they host. It gives the Libraries Museums and Galleries direct access to the public.

Whilst it can be just a fun activity, the quantity (probably millions of suitable images) together with the breadth and diversity of the subjects should allow teachers easily match the resources to subjects and curriculum areas. Natural History, Maps, Science and Technology, Character Studies, Children's illustration, Mediaeval Books are well represented, and hopefully many will be using open licences.

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Screen captures from #ColourOurCollections

Of course colouring is not just restricted to paper and crayon/paint. Any numbers of digital tools and apps can be used to create digital images and illustrations, for example some activities are provided on the Hand Colouring Old Photographs page. Gifs, Animations and backdrops for video are also possible... the list of possibilities is endless.

Participating institutions include:
plus many more....

Some more open resources for the ColourOurCollections event

Although the event runs officially from February 1st to 5th, it is likely many will be inspired by the event and continue to develop the ideas, activities and resources.



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