The whale warehouse

7 minutes

The sprawling, stinking marvels of a natural history museum’s specimens

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s so-called ‘whale warehouse’ is easy to miss: from the outside, it’s a nondescript industrial building down the street from a meatpacking plant. But the collection of large mammal bones within – including enormous whale skulls and skeletons too massive to fit on shelves – is one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Exploring the reasons we hoard things, the specifics of the museum’s collection, and the ways in which the collection is used for research, The Whale Warehouse draws fascinating links between the psychology of collecting and the pursuit of knowledge.

Producer: Mae Ryan, Grant Slater

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like
Essay/
Physics
Going nowhere fast

After the success of the Standard Model, experiments have stopped answering to grand theories. Is particle physics in crisis?

Ben Allanach

Essay/
Space Exploration
What if ET is an AI?

After centuries searching for extraterrestrial life, we might find that first contact is not with organic creatures at all

Caleb Scharf