£2m fundraising campaign launched to reopen better, brighter Jorvik Viking Centre in 2017

They'll be raring to unveil the new-look Jorvik Viking Centre. Photograph: Richard McDougall
12 Feb 2016 @ 5.27 pm
| Charity, News

Hit badly by the floods, Jorvik Viking Centre is not expected to open for another year.

But when it does, the world-famous attraction will be rebuilt and re-imagined for a new generation.

“Whilst we could simply replicate the pre-flood displays, our mission to educate in an accessible way drives us to plan how we can do it even better than before,” said David Jennings, chief executive of Jorvik owners the York Archaeological Trust.

And as the 32nd Jorvik Viking Festival gets ready to unleash all manner of hairy excitement across the city, the trust is launching a £2 million fundraising campaign to do just that.

Mr Jennings said:

Whilst this is an ambitious plan for an independent charity, we have 18 million ambassadors for the JORVIK experience, and the high profile nature of the flooding means that people around the world are aware of our plight.

February 2017 reopening

Flashback to December when the Viking Centre on Coppergate flooded
Flashback to December when the Viking Centre on Coppergate flooded

The trust’s aim is to have the Viking Centre open for business by February 2017 at the latest.

That will enable a full 12 months of fundraising, launching with this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival, which begins on February 15.

Due to attract as many as 40,000 people into the city, the festival is particularly welcome after “York’s experienced a very quiet January,” says Sarah Maltby, the trust’s director of attractions.

She said:

Our theme for this year’s festival is King Canute, who took the English throne 1,000 years ago.

Given that he is probably best known for the story where he commanded the waves to turn back, we’re using his name to launch our fundraising initiative – Campaign Canute – as part of the festival.

Even before the launch of Campaign Canute, supporters have been offering help and donations to the cause, with £4,500 donated already.

How to help #CampaignCanute

Donate at these Jorvik Group attractions: DIG, Barley Hall, the Richard III Experience at Monkbar or the Henry VII Experience at Micklegate

Or visit the Jorvik Viking Centre website

Meanwhile the Jorvik team has been working with other major players in the city to ensure that visitors can still encounter their Viking heritage during 2016.

Parts of the exhibition are going out to other York venues, the Theatre Royal among them.

Sarah said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the York Theatre Royal and in talks with two other central venues to host three Viking exhibitions, the first of which will open in April and the other two in time for the summer.”

See all the Viking Festival events in in our What’s On guide