Smuggled, stashed and seized!

This workshop is perfect for classes studying a local history topic as we explore Liverpool’s connections to the world of smuggling and trade through its position as one of the top ports in Britain.

Engaging with items from the museum’s collection of handling objects, all of which have been seized by Border Force officers, pupils will be introduced to the lengths to which some people and organisations will go in order to smuggle in prohibited items.

This workshop is available to book on Fridays only from 4 March 2022 at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm. 

Workshop details

This interactive workshop will be led by an experienced member of the Learning team and will begin with a warm welcome to the museum, followed by a brief visit to the Seized gallery located in the basement. Here we will outline the work of the Border Force, introducing some key words and concepts, its history in Liverpool and also some object highlights in the collection which will be relevant to the rest of the workshop content.  Of course, groups can then revisit the gallery at their leisure during the rest of their time at the museum.

We go on to look at the specifics of historical smuggling in the local Liverpool area, focussing especially on the infamous Mother Redcap, in the atmospheric surroundings of our reproduction dockside street before moving to our Learning space for the final section of the workshop.

This is where pupils will be introduced to objects from our extensive collection of items seized by the Border Force and the stories behind them, be they endangered species, fakes or concealments of illegal goods.  They will be encouraged to discuss the issues raised by these items, how they relate directly to our everyday lives and the wisest choices we should all make to keep ourselves, our society, and the natural world safe.

Curriculum links

English Spoken Language

Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates.

Science (Year 4)

Living things and their habitats

  • recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.
  • pupils should explore examples of human impact (both positive and negative) on environments, for example, the positive effects of nature reserves, ecologically planned parks, or garden ponds, and the negative effects of population and development, litter or deforestation

History (local history study)

  • a study of an aspect of history or a site dating from a period beyond 1066 that is significant in the locality.


Keeping safe

  • how to predict, assess and manage risk in different situations
  • about hazards (including fire risks) that may cause harm, injury or risk in the home and what they can do to reduce risks and keep safe

Living in the wider world

  • Shared responsibilities
  • to recognise reasons for rules and laws; consequences of not adhering to rules and laws

Fundamental British Values

  • Rule of law: Learn to clarify the rules and consequences of making positive or negative choices relating to endangered animals and other contraband, and understand our shared and individual responsibilities. Understand how laws can change over time and vary in different countries.
  • Democracy: Students share a leading role in discussion and debate.
  • Mutual respect and tolerance: Students are encouraged to respect opinions and cultural differences. Understand that everyone in society deserves the opportunity to make safe, healthy and positive choices.

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 14: Life below water - sustainable tourism.
  • Goal 15: Life on land - protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Gain awareness of the laws regarding the illegal import of banned goods including fakes and endangered species.
  • Understand that smuggling can be intentional, personal or commercial, or sometimes accidental.
  • Learn about habitat destruction and hunting as a threat to endangered animals and plants.
  • Learn about the consequences of smuggling on the perpetrator.  


Pupils will:

  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to question and discuss issues relating to smuggled goods that may affect their own lives, or those of the wider society.
  • Develop their confidence and ability to make safer choices.
  • Give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.


Pupils will:

  • Be introduced to the role the Border Force and how it protects our society.
  • Be introduced to the work of the education team and the value of a visit to a museum.
  • Learn about the techniques used by smugglers to get smuggled goods into the country and the ways the Border Force try to prevent this.


Pupils will

  • See the museum as a fun and interesting way to learn more about the past and the present.
  • Be inspired to have the confidence to make the right choices for themselves backed up by factual information and expertise.
  • Explore the ethics of the use of animal products, both endangered and non-endangered.