Since October 2008, Diane Lees has served as Director-General of the Imperial War Museums, which is the Cultural Lead for the Centenary of the FWW. In Summer 2013, Diane was appointed as a Trustee of 14-18NOW, the Cultural Programme for the First World War Centenary. Diane has already raised significant funds for the transformation of IWML and is tasked with creating a sustainable future for IWM’s five branches and 600 staff.
Before joining IWM, Diane was Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. Diane had a specific brief to transform the Museum and create a sustainable future for this east-end site; she also chaired the V&A’s UK Steering Group.
Diane began her career as an historic buildings researcher and then moved into exhibitions, education, and interpretation. She has worked on some of the most challenging and exciting projects in the country, including the rescue and relocation of a hat block manufacturer’s workshop in central Manchester, the recovery and display of the Mary Rose flagship in Portsmouth Harbour, and redisplay of the Nelson Galleries at the Royal Naval Museum. Diane project-managed the creation of the UK standard for the recording of information about museum collections (SPECTRUM), and was responsible for the creation of the only museum of law in the country, the multi-award winning Galleries of Justice in Nottingham.
Diane is a Trustee of the IWM Development Trust, The Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust, and the Army Museums Ogilby Trust. She serves as Vice President of the American Air Museum in Britain, and is also a Director of the IWM Trading Company. Diane is a key member of the South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter Directors Forum, Women Leaders in Museums Network (WLMN), and the Arts Council’s external advice panel. Diane is also a judge on the Museums + Heritage Awards, a CMI Book of the Year judge, and serves as Advisor to the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Project.
In April 2013, Diane was appointed Chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) and continues to serve in this role. In February 2014, Diane was appointed to David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission’s Commemoration Expert Group Committee and continues to serve on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Experts’ Reference Group. In April 2014, she was appointed to the University of Lincoln’s Board of Governors and in January 2015, to the University of Oxford Humanities External Advisory Board. In December 2014, Diane was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to museums, and in July 2015, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of Reading.