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

Essay/History of Science
Does science need mavericks?

Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?

Adrian Currie

Essay/Cosmology
Universe in a bubble

Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know

J Richard Gott