Volunteer at JORVIK Viking Centre and the Viking Festival

Do you like meeting new people, have a passion for history or archaeology and want to support our work to help visitors engage with the rich heritage and archaeology of York?

Volunteering with York Archaeological Trust’s JORVIK Group of attractions is a great way to share these interests, meet new people and learn new skills!

The JORVIK Group consists of the world famous JORVIK Viking Centre, Barley HallDIG, Henry VII at Micklegate Bar and Richard III at Monk Bar and offers a varied range of historical and archaeological experiences.

We welcome new people to our volunteer teams across our attractions at our regular intake periods.

Although JORVIK is currently closed, following the Boxing Day floods, we have an exciting time ahead. We have a range of exciting Viking exhibitions which are taking the JORVIK experience out into York and Barley Hall, DIG, Henry VII and Richard III continue to represent an important part of York’s heritage experience.

As always we welcome involvement from our dedicated volunteer teams who enable us to offer a range of exciting additional visitor services that would not be possible without their enthusiasm and support

What roles are available?

Viking Handling Collection Guides will form a vital part of our re-generation plans following the closure of the JORVIK Viking Centre due to the Boxing Day floods in York. Around half of the centre was submerged by water and although all our historic artefacts were able to be moved to safety; major damage was caused to the JORVIK building and exhibitions; including the world-famous ride.

We are now working hard to re-build and re-imagine JORVIK for re-opening in spring 2017 and we are seeking enthusiastic volunteers to support our work on this journey.

It is hugely important to continue access to the JORVIK experience and our famous collection during our closure period. We are undertaking this through a selection of pop-up exhibitions hosted around York City Centre.

Volunteer Viking Handling Collection Guides act as a vital part of this; offering object handling opportunities at our ‘Vikings Home and Abroad’ exhibition in St Mary’s, Coppergate. The role helps us to continue access to our Viking artefacts collection and offers a fun and informative way for both you and our visitors to engage with York’s Viking past.

Download the Viking Handling Collection Guide role description here

Barley Hall Room Guides get involved by assisting visitors to find out about the fascinating history of the Hall. Room Guides are based in rooms throughout the house to interpret and explain the objects, history and exhibitions in the Hall. Our guides form an important, personal link for visitors to this medieval townhouse enabling them to connect with topics as diverse as medieval food and feasts to life in Tudor York (as part of our current exhibition).  It is an ideal role for anyone who likes meeting people and sharing a love of late medieval history.

Download the Barley Hall Room Guide description here

DIG Interpretation Assistants volunteer at DIG to get involved with our school and group tours which bring to life the world of archaeology. Volunteering alongside our friendly staff they help to offer increased one-to-one interaction with visiting groups as they explore the world of an archaeologist. This is an ideal role for anyone who is interested in archaeological interpretation and engagement with a schools and family market.

Download the DIG Interpretation Assistant description here

Richard III & Henry VII Room Guides share their role between the Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar and Richard III experience at Monk Bar.  They get involved to assist visitors in exploring the fascinating and intertwined histories of these two Bars and the turbulent lives & reigns of Henry VII and Richard III. They also help to interpret the history of these two gateways to York’s famous city walls.

This is an ideal role for anyone interested in the fascinating history of the Wars of the Roses period as well as those interested in the history of these important gateways in York’s landscapes.

Download the Richard III & Henry VII Interpretation Assistant description here.

Visitor Survey Market Research Assistants get involved to help us gather data on visitor demographics and experiences to help us promote and develop The JORVIK Group. Volunteers help by undertaking visitor surveys with visitors to the JORVIK Group of attractions and City Centre events.

The role is ideal for anyone seeking market research experience, those interested in researching visitor engagement in museums and anyone who enjoys meeting and talking to a wide variety of visitors.

Download the Visitor Survey Market Research Assistant role description here

What experience do I need?

For many of our roles you do not need specific experience. Anything you need to know will be passed onto you as part of your training. The most important thing is that you are enthusiastic about your role and want to contribute your time to assist the Trust in enhancing our visitors’ experience and our services. If you are in a visitor facing role you will also need to enjoy talking to a wide range of people and be able to offer a bright, friendly welcome to all.

All you need is:

  • An enthusiasm for your chosen role
  • An interest in and appreciation of the Trust and the department or attraction you volunteer at.
  • To be happy initiating interaction with people where your role is customer facing.
  • To be able to offer regular and reliable involvement.

In return we can help you:

  • Learn new skills and gain new experiences
  • Gain additional knowledge
  • Meet new people
  • Enjoy a fun way to be part of York’s heritage and the York Archaeological Trust
  • Insight into museum and heritage roles.

Time Commitments

Most of our volunteer roles ask for a commitment of one full or half-day once a week or fortnight. Full days are usually 10 am – 4pm and half-days are usually 10 am – 1pm or 1pm – 4pm. Breaks will of course be available during these times.

We particularly need your help during school holidays so it is always a huge help if people are available for some of these periods.

We ask for involvement for a minimum of approximately six months but would be thrilled if you would like to stay on for longer.

What do I do If would like to Apply to volunteer?

Download a copy of our Volunteer Application Form and email or post this to our Volunteer Manager, Helen Harris. If you would like a paper copy of the application form posted to you or you have any questions about volunteering please do not hesitate to contact our Volunteer Manager; she would be more than happy to talk to you.

Please note we ask anyone applying to volunteer with us to be available for the Welcome Day for the intake period they join in. This day offers an induction for all our new volunteers and is run so we can ensure we have offered you the information you need to start your volunteering.

Welcome Days usually run both morning and afternoon for three hours per session. Volunteers can choose which session to attend and we will work the timings around those attending to try and meet everyone’s needs. If you would like to volunteer with us but cannot make the Welcome Day please speak to our Volunteer Manager so we can see how we can help.

What happens if I Apply to volunteer?

To ensure we offer a high level of support to all our volunteers we now offer new volunteer roles via set registration periods.

These registration periods allow potential volunteers to register their interest in joining our volunteer teams and to join with other new team members.

Once the intake is closed we will contact all our applicants and arrange to meet with anyone we may be able to offer a role to. At this meeting we will ask some questions to help us see what you are interested in and what roles we may be able to match you to. It is, of course, also an opportunity for you to find out more about us and our volunteer roles. Please note we will always contact all our applicants to let them know if we can take their application forward or not.

Following these meetings we will be able to let you know whether we can offer a place. If you would like to take up this offer then we will take up references for you. Please note that any offers of a place will just be pending the return of your references. We will also ask you to attend the Welcome Day.

Registration Periods 2016

Autumn/Winter 2015

Now closed.

Spring/Summer 2016

Registrations open 11th April – 9th May 2016. The Welcome Day for anyone we can offer a role to will be held on Wednesday 1st June.

Late Summer 2016

Registrations open 5th August – 22nd August. The Welcome Day for anyone we can offer a role to will be held on 6th September.

Please note we hope to meet with applicants we may be able to offer a place to prior to 6th September on 24th, 30th or 31st August. However, please do let our Volunteer Manager know if these dates would not be suitable to you

Roles available for late summer 2016 intake – Viking Handling Collection Guides.

Autumn/Winter 2016

Dates & roles to be confirmed.



A copy of frequently asked questions can be downloaded here

Helen Harris Volunteer Manager
JORVIK, Coppergate, York, YO1 9WT
Email: hharris@yorkat.co.uk
Tel: 07769757574 or 01904 543419
Working Days : Mondays – Wednesdays