|Origami Christmas Tree|
It is in Japan that paper folding became an art form and evolved into what we know today as "origami". In Japan, paper was expensive and not available to the general public that's why paper folding was limited to religious rituals and formal ceremonies. By the 17th century, play-origami was so popular in Japanese culture so that you could find kimonos decorated with paper cranes.
The technique of paper making was introduced into Europe in the twelfth century . However at that time origami was not taken up by a large number of people as it was in Japan. By the beginning of the nineteenth century , origami was quite common across parts of Europe. There is mention of people folding paper into various shapes such as kites, boats, and birds. From Europe, origami then spread to South America and then to North America.
Origami was relatively unknown in the United States until a woman named Lillian Oppenheimer discovered the flapping bird. Lillian wanted the world to share her love of origami. She started corresponding with paperfolders around the world. Through the 50's and 60's, Lillian became more and more involved with origami, and gathered around her a small group of equally dedicated and talented people. Among those people was Michael Shall, a young teacher from Pennsylvania. With several other people he founded The Friends of The Origami Center of America. Currently, there are thousands of origami books, free origami diagrams on the internet, and origami videos.
The art form continues to evolve and develop. OrigamiUSA is headquartered in New York City's American Museum of Natural History through the generosity of the Museum Trustees. It is staffed primarily by volunteers and maintains the largest origami library in the world The Origami holiday tree is a 30 year tradition at the American Museum of Natural History. Volunteers begin folding in March to complete the hundreds of creations that will be displayed on the tree. Every year there is a different theme for the tree.
The theme for the 2011 tree is "The Biggest & The Best" -- paying tribute to the Museum's superlative displays, including the blue whale, "The Worlds Largest Dinosaurs" exhibit, and origami space shuttles in honor of the new "Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration" exhibit.
The theme for the 2012 tree was "Museum Collections" with 500 origami animals adorning the tree, each in groups. The 2013 year’s theme was Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful. It was inspired by the museum’s Power of Poison exhibit.
|Museum of Natural History|
There were hundreds of origami ornaments on the tree including snakes, tarantulas, poisonous frogs and characters from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This year’s theme is Origami Night at the Museum inspired by the blockbuster Night at the Museum movies so expect paper renderings of Teddy Roosevelt and dinosaurs. It took about five months to fold all the origami ornaments that hang on the tree. The tree is on view on the first floor of American Museum of Natural History till January 5, 2015