The Origami Holiday Tree is an annual event produced by OrigamiUSA at the American Museum of Natural History. It is open for viewing from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until mid-January. Each year, OrigamiUSA and our team of volunteers design and produce a stunning tree in the main hall of the Museum, decorated with thousands of origami figures folded and sent in by members and origami aficionados from around the world. This gorgeous spectacle has been an institution in New York City for many years, and is a linchpin of the relationship between OrigamiUSA and the Museum of Natural History.
It's a wonderful way to showcase the art of origami and is now a "must see" on the New York holiday circuit, with attention from local and international press and visitors. Participation in tree projects is a major part of how we say, "Thank you," to the Museum for providing free space, storage and services to OrigamiUSA .
While models are recycled, there is a shelf-life limit. Please help replace well-worn models and maintain our annual tradition. All various animal groups (no fantasy animals) – amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, sea life, insects (no butterflies or spiders, we have plenty), dinosaurs, etc. are welcome. Please send no more than one of each animal you select. In this way, we continue to have a wide variety to showcase.
Models can be simple to super complex. They need to be clearly recognizable. Neat folding, pretty paper and a size range of 5 to 8 inches round out the basic requirements. Models become the property of OrigamiUSA. We look forward to receiving them. Those arriving before the end of October will be considered for the current year, the rest for the next year.
Please contact Ros Joyce and Talo Kawasaki at holiday-tree [at] origamiusa.org if you have other questions.
Holiday Tree 2020
An annual tradition for this 49th tree, the delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree marks the start of the holiday season at the Museum. The theme of this year’s tree is Cranes and Colors, highlighting a special exhibition on The Nature of Color, as well as celebrating the AMNH’s 150th anniversary. A rainbow of 1,000 cranes are displayed on and around the tree as a symbol of hope, peace and best wishes. Creations on the tree were made by volunteers from around the US and the world. Even though there are no Annual Gifts nor teaching tables this year, you can still see the tree in person Wednesdays-Sundays safely by way of advance tickets sales and the museum’s social distancing efforts.
Holiday Tree Galleries
Click the links below for galleries of current and past trees. If you have photographs of older trees (or more to add to these), please contact us at website [at] origamiusa.org; we'd love to add yours to the collection!
- 2020 Holiday Tree: Cranes and Colors
- 2019 Holiday Tree: T. rex & Friends: History in the Making
- 2018 Holiday Tree: Oceans of Origami
- 2017 Holiday Tree: Unfolding the Senses
- 2016 Holiday Tree: Origami Dinosaurs Among Us
- 2015 Holiday Tree: Mighty to Microscopic Life
- 2014 Holiday Tree: Night at the Museum
- 2013 Holiday Tree: Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful
- 2012 Holiday Tree: Collections
- 2011 Holiday Tree: AMNH's Biggest and Best
- 2010 Holiday Tree: Discovery
- 2009 Holiday Tree: Origami from A to Z
- 2008 Holiday Tree: Folding the Museum
- 2007 Holiday Tree: Fantastic Creatures: Mythic and Real
- 2006 Holiday Tree: Origami Safari
- 2001–2005 Holiday Trees
Frequently Asked Questions
Wondering something about the Holiday Tree? Check out our list of frequently asked questions. If you still have questions, contact us at holiday-tree [at] origamiusa.org.
Organizing your Own Holiday Tree
Ever thought about creating your own origami Holiday Tree? OrigamiUSA member June Sakamoto has written up a set of guidelines to help get you started! Download them from the link below. If you have an online gallery of photos of your holiday tree, send us a link and we'll post it here.