Paper Animals

Last Friday night my niece and I spent “A Night at the Museum”, a popular children’s event at the American Museum of Natural History. With sleeping bags and flashlights in tow, city kids and their adult chaperones had free reign to explore the museum to their hearts’ content, or until they passed out in their pajamas at midnight! Throw in an iMax film, storytelling, and a captivating visit to the Butterfly Conservatory, (one of my favorites) and a super fun time was had by all.

While there is certainly no shortage of fascinating displays at the Natural History museum, I was blown away by the museum Christmas tree which was still up in the main lobby, and the subject of many a camera click. Adorned completely in origami animals, the tree was one of the most enchanting things I’ve ever seen. I don’t think my photos fully capture the charms of this tree as they appeared live, but you can definitely get the idea.


Origami, as everyone knows, is the art of paper folding. A Japanese tradition dating back almost 2000 years, origami, in its more skilled and advanced forms, is much more elaborate than the common origami cranes many of us learned to make as children. In fact, I asked my niece if she ever attempted origami and she responded, “Yes. It was a big fail!”. Ha, I know what she means. Anyone who’s ever struggled with the crane can feel only awe at the sight of origami giraffes, eagles, horses, dinosaurs, kangaroos, buffalos, geese, rabbits, alligators … the incredible range of diversity to be found in the animal kingdom. The origami artists who decorated the museum tree did it all.


Check out the cobra at the bottom of this picture. Love it!


Besides the sheer variety of animals to be found on the tree, the colors were also dazzling to the eye. What is it about colored paper that makes you want to play with it and create with it? Brings out our inner 2nd grader perhaps. The paper collage I made for the Museworthy Art Show makes even more sense now 🙂

One more photo. Notice the red cardinal on the right side. So cute.


7 thoughts on “Paper Animals

  1. Bill says:

    I had read about that event — and I’m glad that you guys had a chance to participate. How very cool for both of you!

    The origami deal is fascinating. I saw a show on PBS a while back that explored the use of origami in a variety of high-level applications at places like MIT. But there’s something about the classic folded animals that’s still really appealing.

    • artmodel says:


      I can totally see how origami could play a role in scientific uses and advanced applications. And yet it also has such unique artistic qualities.

      The Night at the Museum event was really fun! Extremely well organized which was great. Olivia said she wants to do it again!

      Thanks for your comments!


  2. T.O. Fife says:

    Here is a piece about an attempt to make a life-size origami elephant out of a single sheet of paper (I saw this somewhere else, but I can’t remember the source. I think the other story went into more detail).

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wow – gorgeous!

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