Protecting historic gems: Arrowtown's Lakes District Museum director David Clarke, left, and The Fork and Tap owner Jeannie Crawford


Two of Arrowtown’s most iconic buildings are going under cover.

Next week work will start on the Lakes District Museum’s massive seismic-strengthening project — the last bit of funding needed came from the Central Lakes Trust by way of a $426,000 grant that’ll be used to upgrade the internal displays.

Director David Clarke says getting the last bit of money is ‘‘amazing’’.

‘‘It would’ve never happened without Covid.

‘‘When we got the council money [a $1.04 million grant as part of the annual plan] everyone said, ‘that’s great’.

‘‘I said, ‘there’s still $2.5m to get’.’’

The government followed suit and granted $2m in May, which enabled planning proper to start.

‘‘It’s just miraculous we got the rest of it.

Starting work: The historic Lakes District Museum, which dates back to 1875, will be the first cab off the rank for seismic strengthening, with work starting next week

‘‘The way it was going, we were going to have to fundraise all of that on our own,’’ Clarke says.

‘‘We’re so grateful to get it going.’’

Work on the museum, which dates back to 1875, will take a year to complete.

During that time it’ll be tented and parks outside it, on Wiltshire Street, will need to be temporarily removed.

Along with the strengthening work, focused on the former Bank of New Zealand building and stables which house the museum, the building will also be restored.

Across the road, The Fork and Tap is also getting ready to seismic-strengthen its main historic building, which dates back to 1874.

Owner Jeannie Crawford says the total cost of the project’s likely to be around $400,000.

They’re applying for funding to cover the costs at the moment.

Passion project: The Fork and Tap, built in 1874, will undergo a three-month seismic strengthening project from February, but will stay open for business

It’ll take the main building out of action — it’ll also go under a tent — for about three months from February.

But it’ll only shut for one day — to shift the bar to the ‘‘den’’ to create ‘‘an exciting, new pop-up bar’’, next to the courtyard.

The kitchen and bathrooms will remain operational throughout, she says, but the parks on that side of Wiltshire St will also have to be removed for a bit.

Both the museum and The Fork and Tap projects are employing local companies, from engineers and architects through to the builders.

‘‘That’s very much our priority,’’ Crawford says.

‘‘We’re not outsourcing.’’

Clarke: ‘‘We’re doing it because it’s our duty to do it — it’s the strategic intersection of Arrowtown, it’s where people love to sit at the pub and look at what’s going on, and they’ll
have these two significant buildings restored.

‘‘You’ll see tents over these two buildings and there will be disruption, but it’s all for the better.’’

Crawford, who’s owned the building for nine years, says you don’t purchase an historic building ‘‘without the love for it’’.

‘‘It’s a passion project.

‘‘We’re doing it to protect what’s iconic in Arrowtown’s history.’’