"We've actually got a whole 29ft whale scattered around this store," says Jack Ashby, as we enter an average-sized room lined with shelves, drawers and cardboard boxes.
The whale to which he refers is a northern bottlenose whale which was shot in Weston Super Mare in the 1920s, and we have little reason to doubt his claim as he gestures first at a whale skeleton on top of a cabinet, and then at a cardboard box marked "whale ribs" in black marker pen.
"Although thinking about it," he continues, "I don't recall ever having seen any whale fins around here, and they're pretty important."
This is an average working day for Jack. He's manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL and has kindly agreed to let us peek into the museum's secure stores — the items in the museum's collection which are not on show to the public.
The average museum only has 11% of its specimens on display at any one time. At the Grant Museum, this number is even less, around 7%. Despite this, you can see more specimens in this one small museum than you can in the whole of the Natural History Museum, according to Jack.
As well as functioning as museum objects, many of the specimens are used for research and teaching specimens for UCL students. At one point Jack looks worried when he opens a palm-sized cardboard box to find it empty, before realising that it's been given — unlabeled — to one of the students. They have a term to use what they've learnt to identify which species it is.
When we ask how often items are rotated onto display, Jack laughs. "Every time we come into the store, we find something amazing and end up taking it back to the museum and putting it out." Despite this, the majority of items in storage have never been on display. Aside from the whale, the museum's largest items are all out on display — partly because these are of most interest to the public, and partly for ease of storage.
Take a look at some of the things you won't see on your next trip to the Grant Museum.