over 1000 building blocks made out of mushrooms!!

The unusual blocks in this installation have been made out of reishi mushrooms. The artist, Phil Ross, has discovered a method of growing mushrooms in molds and curing them so that they provide organic and durable fun.

Mushrooms grow by absorbing or eating woody plant-based fibers; as they grow, they replace the plant fibers and grow dense, lightweight structures called mycelium. Reishi mushrooms are considered a ‘golden-herb’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a status reserved for herbs that are the most beneficial for human contact and consumption. Throughout time, people have explored the relationship between art and food: from ancient cave drawings of animal hunts to celebratory depictions of food and harvests. More recently, artists like Phil are actually using “food” in their art. Visit Phil’s installation on the Museum’s Main Level and use the artist-designed tables to build your mushroom structure. If you want to let your children build while you take a break, relax on one of his mushroom stools.

  • Assemble structures by linking the mushroom blocks.
  • Be creative with the tables to engineer bridges, tunnels or whatever you can imagine.

Who Made This?

Phil Ross’s artwork centers on his long-time interest in the field of biology. Phil has been working with mushrooms for more than 10 years and has developed a technique for transforming the fungus into an extremely durable, fireproof and water-resistant material. He “grows” his building blocks for use in his sculptures and furniture and discovered how his material could essentially replace items made from wood or plastic. Phil’s overarching goal is to explore the interrelationships between humans, technology and our living environments.


Lower Level Renovations

We’re undergoing some renovations to our Lower Level. Please excuse any construction you may see or hear during your visit-current exhibit spaces will not be impacted.

Thank you for understanding!