Museum’s shake-up


Arrowtown’s multi-million dollar museum strengthening and revamp project is a step closer to reality.

Lakes District Museum’s old BNZ bank building was identified as potentially earthquake-prone in November 2018.

A resource consent application has been submitted to bring it up to at least 67 per cent of the building code.

And in a bid to kill three birds with one stone, the bank will also undergo restoration, and accessibility to the museum will be improved as part of the same project.

Acting museum director Jane Peasey says they’re thrilled to finally get the ball rolling on the consent process.

“It’s been a few years to get to that stage, so we’re really happy that’s been done.”

They’re still working out the exact cost of the project, but Peasey expects it to be a couple of million dollars.

That means a lot of fund-raising.

“We’ve approached some of the major funders and we’ve definitely had some positive feedback from them as far as recognising the importance of the project,” Peasey says.

“But we will be going out to the wider community to try to raise some extra funds to help get this project underway.”

She says it makes sense to include the restoration of the building, including restoring its original roof, in the project.

The bank was designed by Robert Arthur Lawson and completed in 1875.

It closed as a branch in 1916 and served several different purposes until it was gifted to the museum in 1953.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to put the original roof back on the building and take it back to its original design,” Peasey says.

It’s also hoped an elevator will be installed in the museum.

The aim is to provide more accessibility to the building’s lower level.