Our venues


Posts by Alayna

Guess what? All is not what it seems in our new display!

17 July 2018 by Alayna

Metal 'Guess' belt buckles

Counterfeit ‘Guess’ belt buckles.

Some of the most well known fashion brands are on display in the Seized! gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum. At first glance, the fashion items may appear like the genuine article but they are in fact all fakes. Our new display, which opens on Wednesday 18 July, features counterfeit versions of brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Philipp Plein, Hermes and many more.

No sooner has a new fashion product hit the market, and the counterfeiters are fast to follow with a cheaper and more inferior copy. Border Force monitors the UK ports, airports and postal hubs for fake items. These new exhibits were seized at Heathrow airport as part of a large consignment from Turkey.

Although it’s tempting to fall for the cheaper counterfeit version, corners are cut in the production, resulting in poor quality and often dangerous products. Read more…

Happy 10th birthday Seized!

16 May 2018 by Alayna

Curator on quayside by Border Force ship

Curator Steve Butler at the recent Seized! open day

Seized! is ten years old today! The new Customs & Excise museum opened on 17 May 2008. Previously situated on the ground floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, it was redesigned and relocated to a larger gallery space in the basement.

Now known as the Border Force National Museum, it is the only museum of its kind in the country with around 300,000 visitors each year.  Read more…

Ele Friends

5 September 2013 by Alayna

Two visitors with their Ele Friends finger puppets

Two visitors with their Ele Friends finger puppets

Jane Donnelley, Border Force Officer talks about a new Education event at Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered:”

Throughout the summer holidays the Seized! team deliver its public events programme, which includes a variety of craft sessions for the children and families. These sessions are free and offer the opportunity to come and be creative. Our most recent addition to these sessions is Ele Friends, where visitors can make their own elephant friend in the form of a felt finger puppet with lovely coloured tusks. Read more…

Snoop dog

16 August 2013 by Alayna

Two young visitors sitting with a sniffer dog

This week’s star sniffer dog Rodney, with visitors Faye and Alice

Jane Donnelly, Border Force Immigration Officer is on secondment to Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered. Jane talks about her most recent experience.

“I am a Border Force Officer trained in ‘Legacy Immigration and Customs’ work. I am usually based at Manchester Airport and since the beginning of May 2013 have started a secondment at National Museums Liverpool with the team at Seized! I have been assisting the Curators with ideas for the gallery and shadowing the Education staff, learning how to facilitate sessions for visitors to the museum. Read more…

Wildlife under threat

2 April 2013 by Alayna

Seized! CITES display of endangered species

New display of endangered species


2013 marks 40 years of CITES the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. To commemorate this significant year, the Seized! gallery is showing a new, hard-hitting display of wildlife seizures.

On display are primate skulls and dried bats from the home of a retired couple in West Yorkshire. Hundreds of animal parts were discovered at their home, illegally imported from Indonesia and Africa. The couple were selling the specimens for a profit on eBay. Shocking imagery in the gallery shows their home filled with boxes of seized skulls. Read more…


5 November 2012 by Alayna

Twin masted sailing ship in bay

On a recent trip to Falmouth we visited the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, interviewed Cornwall’s last remaining Customs Officer and chatted to the creator of a newly built 18th-century style lugger!

On our last day we got up early and travelled along the sunny south-east coast of Cornwall to Millbrook boatyard in Plymouth. Here we met professional sailors Marcus Rowden and Freya Hart, with their little toddler Malachi – the inspirational team behind the Grayhound.

The original Greyhound was an 18th-century Customs cutter commissioned by John Knill, collector of Customs and mayor of St Ives. Having discovered the plans for the original vessel, Marcus and Freya decided to build their own version from scratch. This would not only be an important part of Cornish maritime history, but ultimately their future place of work and family home. Read more…

Seized drug suit on display

30 October 2012 by Alayna

two curators holding up a body wrap and trousers with pockets for hiding drugs

Holding up the bodysuit with curator Steve Butler before it went on display

Last week we displayed a bodysuit used in a plot to smuggle £5m worth of cocaine into Europe. This fascinating new object was acquired by the museum from the UK Border Force after it was seized on board the ‘MSC Orchestra’ cruise liner in 2010.

A gang of eight Bulgarian and Lithuanian drug smugglers joined the cruise in Brazil destined for Amsterdam. When the ship berthed at Dover on 6th May 2010, UK Border Force officers with a sniffer dog entered the ship to search their cabins. Stashed inside suitcases were eight cocaine filled bodysuits intended to be worn under clothing. In total, officers recovered 35 kilos of cocaine valued at nearly £5m. The eight smugglers were sentenced to a total of 87 years imprisonment. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.