Paper Cranes

How can we come together and show support for each other during difficult times? Create a paper crane that represents both long life and healing and reminds us of the importance of community during an emergency.

Numerous paper origami cranes of many colors hang from a classroom ceiling. In the background is a bookcase and several brightly colored pillows propped against the classroom wall.
Photo by Noaa Stoler

Inspiration

In Japanese culture, cranes are mystical animals that symbolize long life and healing. There is a legend that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you will be granted a wish or recover from an injury. Chains of colorful paper cranes were a familiar sight across Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11. Shortly after the attacks, a replica of the Statue of Liberty appeared outside a firehouse in midtown Manhattan. It was soon covered from torch to toe with tributes, including paper cranes, uniform patches, flags, notes, souvenirs, and other mementos from passersby. This statue continues to remind us of the community of people that came together after the attacks to spread hope and healing.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Close up shot of Lady Liberty sculpture covered with first responder badges, inspirational messages, mini paper cranes, and patriotic memorabilia.
  • Detailed shot of Lady Liberty sculpture shows a juxtaposition of mini American flags and a small chain of two white papercranes hanging off of the statue's side

Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gift in memory of the courageous firefighters from Engine 54/Ladder4/Battalion 9 killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Photos by Bruce White.

Instructions

  • Find a piece of paper—it can be plain, patterned, colorful—whatever you have at home works!
  • If necessary, use scissors to cut your paper into a square.
  • Download and follow the instructions to fold your origami crane.
  • Invite someone in your home to fold a crane with you to make a chain like the one on Lady Liberty.
  • Take a photo of your crane and post the picture to social media using the hashtag #911MuseumEd.

Share Your Creation with Us

Lesson Plan: Paying Tribute

This lesson plan explores ways that people memorialized the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Activities at Home

Inspired by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Activity Stations, these simple, at-home activities offer step-by-step instructions for you to create your own artwork with materials you have at home.