I discovered months ago that many of my regular viewers have a thing for mushrooms (you know who you are!). Today’s post is one you might find particularly interesting. The opening image, above, is a cabinet that runs from desktop to ceiling, one of many that line the walls of a small room in the Botany Section of the Florence Museum of Natural History. And, yes, it is filled with mushrooms – or rather – a beautiful collection of mushroom sculptures from the 1800s.
Every door that was opened to me in the museum last month gave way to fascinating objects of all sorts. This one, though, caught me completely by surprise.
I was visiting with Dr. Chiara Nepi, Section Head of the Botany Department. Dr. Nepi had allowed me to photograph in her areas on my last visit. She was most kind and generous to me at that time and so a visit this trip to say hello was very much in order. As the visit was wrapping up I mentioned about my experience with my neighbor’s mushroom farm. “Have you seen our collection of mushrooms?” she asked. No, I was not aware but more than happy to take a look.
Within moments, the door to this room opens. And, once again, I’m dumbfounded by what I see!
Turns out the Museum has this collection of amazing models (more than 200, I believe) made in the 1800s by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Barla, a curious and interesting scholar, naturalist, and botanist. His models became appreciated by both researchers and enthusiasts and were in such high demand that he began manufacturing them in the 1850s.
These are just a few of the pieces in the collection, which was donated to the museum over a period of years.
So, I thank Dr. Nepi once again for the opportunity to play with these little gems!
I also managed to have a few moments with another interesting, small collection – this time belonging to the Ornithology Department. Birds’ nests and birds’ eggs.
Prepping these images for today’s post seems particularly appropriate on a day like today. Back home now after traveling. Early Spring. The sky is filled with long, long “V”s of honkers heading north – like trains lined up one behind the other, waiting for their turn to head home.
Birds are everywhere – probably checking out the best location for a new nest!
Thanks for the visit.