Designers prep unique holiday tree for American Museum of Natural History


UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — As the holiday season approaches, designers at the American Museum of Natural History are making final tweaks to the Origami Holiday Tree.

It’s a tradition that started in the early 1970s and this will be the 50th one displayed at the museum. 

For this year’s golden anniversary, the 13-foot tree features “Gems of the Museum,” with at least 2,000 origami pieces and 50 specially created gold-colored models.

It takes about two to three weeks on average to construct the tree. Each model could take as little as a few minutes or as much as a few days to make. But the creative process begins a year in advance, which involves finding out about the museum’s upcoming exhibits.

Notable models this year include a Blue Whale sporting a bandage in solidarity people who chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are also dinosaurs, sharks and even a subway garnet. All are constructed by a diverse group of volunteers from all over the world — every fold and every bend is accompanied by a story.

PIX11 News reporter Stacy-Ann Gooden has step-by-step instructions on how to craft the perfect paper swan in the video above.

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