The human record contains a great many references to fungi, with evidence of human use, other than as food, tracing from when our forebears lived as hunter/gatherers, well before the introduction of herding and agriculture, and possibly before the making of fire from punk, a highly flammable forest fungus. Henceforward, human progress is marked by diverse inventions inspired by or actually made from or with fungi, such as the bow and arrow, shield and spear, wheel and axle, sailing and rowing boats, wines, cakes, cheeses and medicinal unguents, to name but a few. With the development of the arts and writing, references to fungi, especially the more prized varieties, becomes increasingly more sophisticated, often disguised by allegory, allusion, analogy, wordplay or other humour, thus laying the foundation for many religions and other practices. Modern fungus nomenclature is riddled with these ancient nuances, especially those recorded by the ancient Greeks and Romans, that new classification systems and attendant vocabularies struggle to change. Now that we have microscopic technologies, our understanding of fungi is progressing into hitherto unseen territories. Only time will tell what new inventions this vast underworld will bring, and we are already tasting its fruits.

This Museum of Mushellanea is dedicated to the many uses of and references to fungi over the ages. Due to the great volume and diversity of available material, this section is organised along the lines of amusements, machinations, materials and processes, where the latter category is reserved for the more practical rather than illustrative.

Far from complete and perhaps never ending, we welcome your comments and contributions.

Back to Top