John Sunderland

The curated works of the author & artist

On My Way to Jorvik

Why can’t museums be more like films?

– thought eleven-year-old John Sunderland whilst truanting from double maths incognito in his school gabardine and cap in a Yorkshire city museum.

That idea simmered for 23 years throughout his multi-media design career during which he created the legendary iconic cartoon character ‘Dusty Bin’

Character Sketch of Dusty Bin by John Sunderland for 3*2*1 of Yorkshire Television
Character Sketch of Dusty Bin by John Sunderland for 3*2*1 of Yorkshire Television

of 3*2*1, the Yorkshire Television quiz game show, and made films with Kenny Everett. Then, unexpectedly, his path led to the Vikings of York.

There, against all odds, he became Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre. His bold interpretation of York Archaeological Trust’s original concept based on their incredible finds from the Coppergate dig transported visitors 1,000 years back in time immersing them in a captured moment one afternoon in the busy streets of the great Viking city, Jorvik. This revolutionary approach to the interpretation of York’s Viking history had an immediate and lasting impact on the way Britain’s cultural heritage would be presented from then on.

On My Way to Jorvik: How a boy with vision became the project designer of Britain’s ground-breaking museum, the original Jorvik Viking Centre is a humorous heart-warming memoir. The author takes us on the up and down journey of how, without any previous museum design experience, he and a uniquely talented hand-picked team came to design and build the first ever populist archaeological exhibition in Britain.

This is a story loaded with Yorkshire wit that reveals how the author used intuitive creative thinking to put visitors inside the story instead of on the outside looking in. Finally, a museum more like a film, and a lot more fun.

Available on Amazon, Kindle and

I couldn’t put it down’ — Francis Pryor, Author and Time Team Presenter on BBC Channel 4 Television.

‘The opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre was a watershed moment in the history not only of archaeological heritage management but also of archaeology itself. The buzz among the global community of archaeologists was immediate.’ – Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D., RPA, Co-President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)

‘A witty, honest account… hugely entertaining and informative… fascinating behind-the-scenes insight’ – John Oxley, FSA, City Archaeologist, City of York Council

‘(A)n amusing… thoroughly readable revealing story of the ride of [John’s] life, including the bumpy bits.’ – Colin C. Pyrah OBE Special Projects Director, Paragon Creative Limited

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Next Book

6 June 2014 Things are going well with On My Way to Jorvik, it’s selling steadily, and people are loving it, all my Amazon reviews

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