ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Students and art teachers with eight elementary and middle schools in the Albuquerque Public Schools district have created 1,000 origami paper cranes that will hang as a temporary installation at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. The display will be part of the museum’s permanent Hiroshima and Nagasaki history exhibition during the summer of 2021.

The Nuclear Museum reports in a press release that the story of the 1,000 origami cranes comes from the story of Sadako Sasaki who was a Japanese girl that was diagnosed with leukemia from radiation as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during WWII. She strived to fold 1,000 cranes in the hopes of being granted a wish.

Cheryl Padilla Maldonado is a visual arts teacher with the APS Fine Arts Department and STEM Magnet Mission Avenue Elementary who led the effort. “This has been such a challenging year for so many people, including teachers and students,” said Maldonado in the press release. “Because the cranes are a symbol of peace, I thought it would be such an amazing opportunity to spread the message of peace across our community, as well as a way to come together through artwork. It also provides a great opportunity to make the connection of history through art, showing how Sadako Sasaki made a huge impact on the world by creating her peace cranes.”

Students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade folded hundreds of origami cranes that were then strung together with the help of Shine Partnership volunteers, a nonprofit that partners with local Title 1 Schools and faith communities. According to the press release, the strands of cranes were then taken to the Nuclear Museum where an installation was created by the museum’s exhibition director.

APS schools that participated in the display include STEM Magnet Mission Avenue Elementary School, Griegos Elementary School, Governor Bent Elementary School, Apache Elementary School, Zune Elementary School, Chelwood Elementary School, La Mesa Elementary School, and Garfield Middle School. The temporary origami crane installation can be viewed at the museum starting on May 19 through the end of the summer.