That JORVIK Viking Thing for Schools | JORVIK Viking Centre

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JORVIK Viking Centre boosts its lockdown educational offer

That JORVIK Viking Thing for Schools, 8-12 February 2021


The world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre – which has been integral to studies of the Viking period in schools since it opened in 1984 – has announced extra measures to support schools even whilst the attraction is closed, including a free week of online activities and livestreams from 8 – 12 February 2021.


“We took the decision in the autumn not to host the annual JORVIK Viking Festival in February 2021 as the risk of bringing thousands of people to York during the pandemic were just too high, and with lockdown potentially lasting until the end of February, this was clearly the right decision!  The Festival will be replaced in 2021 with an online event called That JORVIK Viking Thing, running from 15 – 20 February, but this has given us a great opportunity for schools to have a sneak preview of some of the content during the week before half term (8-12 February), with free livestreamed sessions hosted by our Viking interactive team adding some extra focus to the week.”


Indeed, the livestreamed sessions will be hosted daily at 10am and 2pm throughout the week, with pupils able to watch from home on a dedicated website.  School pupils will also be the first to see a world-first – a 360 degree virtual visit to the recreated Viking-age streets of Coppergate that form part of the visitor attraction.


“Education sits at the heart of what we do at York Archaeological Trust, and we know that many schools will be devastated that they are missing their visit to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Viking-age York.  Whilst we can’t quite manage to offer the aromas of the 10th century, we have used cutting-edge technology to create a virtual visit to our attraction, where children can travel around the ride accompanied by one of our Vikings, Arnor.  This not only opens up the experience to local schools who are missing their visits, but also schools all over the world, for which a visit would be impossible.”


Other videos being released early include a series of ‘Meet the Vikings’ films, where costumed interpreters explain the roles of many of the characters that would have worked in Viking-age York, and a series featuring top children’s authors reading from their Viking-themed books.


Teachers wanting their pupils to participate in That JORVIK Viking Thing for Schools can sign up here


Alongside That JORVIK Viking Thing, the education team are continuing to support schools with virtual outreach sessions, where pupils have an exclusive video call with any one of a host of characters, from Viking warriors and traders, to medieval medics and contemporary archaeologists.  The sessions can be delivered across a number of online learning platforms, including Google Classroom and Zoom, and are also suitable to pupils to log in remotely whilst learning at home alongside key worker children in the classroom.  Bespoke pre-recorded “Meet the Viking” sessions are also available for schools if teachers have any concerns about connectivity.  Sessions cost from £85 for a single session, with discounts if more are booked.


A host of other ‘learn from home’ resources are also available on the JORVIK Viking Centre website.



Notes to editors:

February half term is traditionally the time when JORVIK Viking Centre hosts the JORVIK Viking Festival, the largest Viking festival in Europe, which features living history encampments, hands-on activities, crafting workshops and a trader’s market, culminating in a march of hundreds of warriors through the city streets, and an evening floodlit son-et-lumière finale with live combat and a stunning pyrotechnics end.  The Covid-19 pandemic makes it impossible to host such an event this year, so That JORVIK Viking Thing is effectively an online version of the Festival, featuring a mixture of pre-recorded videos and podcasts to appeal to the whole family – from Norse novice to Viking enthusiast – as well as live-streamed events, presentations and a headline concert from leading Nordic folk musician, Einar Selvik.  It will also incorporate a series of academic lectures, forming an online version of the JORVIK Symposium which takes place as part of the Festival each year.


Most of the activities during That JORVIK Viking Thing are free of charge to watch, but with JORVIK Viking Centre itself once again closed due to lockdown restrictions and all visitor income ceased, a few livestreamed events will require paid-for tickets to help cover the costs to York Archaeological Trust, the charity that owns and operates JORVIK Viking Centre. Viewers of the free events are also being asked to support the work of the Trust, including JORVIK, by donating or by purchasing tickets to visit JORVIK later in the year.


In Viking times, a ‘thing’ was a public assembly – a gathering of leaders to solve disputes and discuss key issues from religion to politics – and the term is used now across the world when academics and enthusiasts on Viking history gather to discuss the latest archaeological discoveries and theories.


That JORVIK Viking Thing is supported by Innovate UK, part of UK Research & Innovation, which supports UK businesses to focus on emerging needs during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.


It is hoped that JORVIK Viking Festival will return in February 2022.


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698

Email:    [email protected]