OrigamiUSA Begins Folding for AMNH Origami Holiday Tree

Volunteers have begun folding models for the American Museum of Natural History’s annual Origami Holiday Tree. Hundreds of OrigamiUSA volunteers begin folding paper models during the hot beach weather months to complete around 1,000 individual pieces eventually displayed on the 13 foot tree.

OrigamiUSA Begins Folding for AMNH Origami Holiday Tree
photo credit: full tree is ©AMNH\R. Mickens; close ups origami ©AMNH\D. Finnin

These hard-working folders are part of OrigamiUSA, the group responsible for all the intricate, artistic creations adorning the Museum’s beloved Origami Holiday Tree, which goes on display each year just before Thanksgiving.

The Museum’s origami tradition began over 40 years ago when the late Museum scientist Alice Gray decorated a 3 foot tree in her office in the Department of Entomology with origami insects. The popularity of origami—as well as the size of the Museum’s tree—has grown steadily over the years.

The ancient art of origami folding is a Chinese art that was adopted by the Japanese and has now spread to a large and growing international folding community. OrigamiUSA volunteers enjoy passing on their craft by teaching Museum visitors to make their own delicate paper creations.

During the holiday season, OrigamiUSA volunteers are on hand daily. Children and adults get to fold and take home their own paper masterpieces.

The tree is an annual tourist attraction: each year, a different theme relates to an aspect of the Museum’s 46 permanent halls or its more than 30 million objects in its collections. This year’s tree design is still under wraps, but OrigamiUSAnever never fails to delight visitors who flock to the Museum every winter to gaze upon the new collection of unique paper creations hanging from each branch.

The Museum is open daily, 10 am–5:45 pm, and is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For additional information, call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum’s website, www.amnh.org

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