Customs museum to exhibit unlawful items
The Sri Lanka Customs Department will launch a museum to showcase its
long-standing history and exhibit unlawful items detected.
The museum in the new Customs Building on the Chalmer's Jetty in Fort
will be open to the public by the end of May.
Superintendent of the Customs Bio Diversity Unit Samantha Gunasekara
told the Sunday Observer that the concept to establish a museum for the
Customs Department was a long-felt need to educate the public about the
role of the department and its history and detections being carried out.
Apart from the over 200-year-old history since the Sri Lanka Customs
Department was set up in June 1806, the role of Customs operations dates
back to 1,000 years during the time of Maha King Parakramabahu the
Great's reign where foreign goods were imported through ancient trading
channels such as the "Silk Route".
During that era, Sri Lanka then known as Serendib or Taprobane was a
dominant country in the maritime trading routes where Customs was an
essential duty to be carried out. Proof of this operation had been found
on ancient stone inscriptions, he said.
The museum will also exhibit items that had been recovered in various
detections throughout the country. Contraband on wildlife, antiques and
artefacts seized while being smuggled out of the country will be
exhibited in the museum. Dangerous substances such as narcotics and
other precious items including jewellery and gems will also be
Gunasekara said that the department has deployed a special team to
work in connection with the launch. It will be opened by President