We've already featured a rather famous whisky bottle, which is one of the new objects that came into the collection of the UK Border Force National Museum following the closure of Greenock Customs House.
The Seized! handling collection has another new addition, an enormous elephant's foot stool. That's a stool made from an elephant's foot, not a footstool for an elephant!
The elephant foot was a hunting trophy that was seized off a commercial hunter. It had been made into a stool, topped with a padded leather seat. The toes and hair can still be seen on the skin. It has also been crudely painted. The hunter was based in the south of England and worked with tourists in Africa. Protected as an endangered species, the elephant foot was held under the international convention called CITES, as part of a larger seizure. The police assisted by Customs secured the seizure.
It's such a bizarre object that people often find it hard to believe it's real. This is where the excitement of being able to handle a museum artefact really kicks in, when visitors touch the foot they can feel the hairs on the skin and many people are quite shocked and fascinated by the experience. On closer inspection there are marks visible on the base of the foot which also indicate its authenticity.
The foot is just one of our handling collection objects, which we show to the public at our handling events. Throughout the year we also hold a series of creative craft sessions which are a fun way to highlight the plight of endangered species and the role of the UK Border Force in protecting them.
Full details of upcoming events are listed on our What's on page.