Do you like meeting new people? Have you got a passion for history or archaeology? Would you love to support the Trust by providing inspiring services to engage visitors with the rich heritage and Archaeology of York?

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

The JORVIK Group consists of the world famous JORVIK Viking Centre, DIG, Barley Hall, Henry VII at Micklegate Bar and Richard III at Monk Bar and offers a varied range of history and archaeology.

Our volunteers get involved across these attractions and are a vital part of the Trust; offering additional services and activities that would not be possible without their enthusiasm and dedicated involvement.

We welcome new volunteer involvement via set intake periods each year. These offer an opportunity to join the team in the company of other new volunteers as well as lots of training and support along the way.

Volunteer Roles

We have a varied range of roles available at the attractions. Most involve helping us to offer additional visitor facing services such as running handling collections, offering guiding services or helping us to offer family activities and information stands at events such as the annual Viking Festival.

We also have a Costume Group who help behind the scenes to create a range of historical costumes.

The full range of attraction based roles our volunteers currently undertake are listed below. These are not all available at every intake so take a look during each intake period to see which roles we have available to apply for. If you would like information on any of these roles outside of an intake please feel free to email us on volunteer@yorkat.co.uk.

JORVIK Handling Collection Guides

Barley Hall Room Guides

DIG Tour Assistants

Richard III and Henry VIII Room Guides

Visitor Survey Market Research Assistants

Event Assistants

Viking Festival Information Hub Assistants

Costume Assistants

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. Other than for our temporary roles we ask volunteers to be available for a suggested minimum of 6 months or more.

In return we can help you:

• Learn new skills and gain new experiences
• Meet new people
• Share a love of history or archaeology
• 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 (other than at JORVIK where the days run 9.30 am – 5.30 pm) and half-days are usually 10 am – 1pm or 1pm – 4pm (9.30 am – 1.30 pm/1.00 pm- 5.30 pm at JORVIK). We ask for involvement for a suggested minimum of approximately six months (other than for our temporary role) but would be thrilled if you would like to stay on for longer. We particularly need your help during the school holidays so it is always a huge help if people are available for some of these periods.

What do I do if I Would Like to Apply to Volunteer?

Wait for an intake period and then download a copy of our Volunteer Application Form and email or post this to us. 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 us.

Please note, we ask anyone applying to volunteer with us to be available for the Welcome Day and Role Induction Day for the intake period they join in. These days offer an useful training for all our new volunteers and are run so we can ensure we have offered you the information you need to start your volunteering.

Welcome Days & Role Induction Days usually run 9.30 am – 1.30pm in central York. If you would like to volunteer with us but cannot make the Welcome Day/Role Induction Day please speak to our Head of Volunteering 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 application periods.

These registration periods allow potential volunteers to register their interest in joining our volunteer teams and to join with other new team members. Please see below for information on our intake periods.

At the end of an intake period we will contact everyone 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 and invite you to the Welcome Day & Role Induction Day. Please note that any offers of a place will just be pending the return of your references.

Can I Apply to Volunteer Outside of an Intake Period?

We regret that we are unable to accept applications outside of the intake periods. To ensure you are applying for our most up-to-date volunteer opportunities we ask you to submit forms during an intake period.

However, please do not hesitate to contact us on volunteer@yorkat.co.uk with any questions. A member of the Volunteer Management team will respond to you as soon as possible

Next Intake Period


Application Period – 9th October to 29th October 2017.

Roles Available: JORVIK Handling Collection Guide, Barley Hall Room Guide, Costume Assistant, DIG Interpretation Guides, Richard III and Henry VII Room Guides.

Welcome Day – 22nd November 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (JORVIK, DIG) 28th November 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (Richard III/Henry VII & Barley Hall & Costume Assistants) 29th November 9.30 am – 1.30 pm.

Roles Available:

JORVIK Handling Collection Guides have formed a vital part of the JORVIK experience since it re-opened on 8th April 2017. Join us for the opportunity to be a part of the team and gain experience of how we offer engagement with the rich archaeology of the JORVIK site.

Find out more: download the JORVIK 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 interpret and explain the objects, history and exhibitions in the Hall and form an important, personal link for visitors to this medieval townhouse.

Find out more: download the Barley Hall Room Guide role 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.

Find out more: download the DIG Interpretation Assistant role 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.

Find out more: download the Richard III & Henry VII Room Guide role description here.

Costume Assistants get involved to help us make and maintain historical costumes for use by our volunteers, staff and visiting schools. We are looking for someone to help us create larger items of clothing such as dresses and who is confident creating items from patterns.

Find out more: download the Costume Assistant role description for this soon. 

Download an application form here.

If you would like a paper copy of this sent to you please do not hesitate to contact us.

2017-18 Intake Periods


Application Period – 4th December 2017 – 8th January 2018.

Welcome Day – 6th February 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (JORVIK, DIG and Viking Festival) 7th February 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (Barley Hall, Richard III/Henry VII) 28th February 9.30 am – 1.30 pm.

Please check back for information on the roles available. These will include the opprtunites for our annual JORVIK Viking Festival in February.


Application Period – April 9th – 6th May 2018

Welcome Day – 12th June 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (JORVIK & DIG) 13th June 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Role Induction Day (Barley Hall and Richard III/Henry VII) 20th June 9.30 am – 1.30 pm.

Please check back for information on the roles available.


A copy of frequently asked questions can be downloaded here.

Contact Us

For Volunteer Enquiries:

You are welcome to contact us with any questions at volunteer@yorkat.co.uk.