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Diane Lees

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Diane Lees

Museum director

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Sustaining our digital future imperial war museums case study with diane lees

Diane Elizabeth Lees CBE (born 1964) is the current and first female Director-General of the Imperial War Museum. Prior to succeeding Sir Robert Crawford on 1 October 2008, she had been the director of the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London since 2000. She is also Chair of the National Museum Directors' Council National Museum Directors' Council.


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Lees began her career as an historic buildings researcher before moving into managing exhibitions, education and interpretation. She was involved in the rescue and relocation of a hat block manufacturer’s workshop in central Manchester; the recovery and display of Henry 8th's flagship Mary Rose in Portsmouth Harbour and re-display of the Nelson Galleries at the Royal Naval Museum.

She also instrumental in creating SPECTRUM, the UK standard for the recording of information about museum collections and was responsible for the creation of the multi-award winning Galleries of Justice in Nottingham (the UK's only museum of law). She is a trustee of the Story Museum in Oxford, a trustee of Discover in East London and Vice Chair of the Association of Independent Museums, and was Institutional Vice President of the Museums Association.

Lees was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to museums.

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