Honorary Degree for Director General of the Imperial War Museums
Release Date 08 July 2015
The University of Reading is delighted to have presented Diane Lees CBE for an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.
Diane has been Director-General of IWM (Imperial War Museums) since 2008. She is also Chair of the National Museum Directors' Council and a trustee of 14-18NOW - the Cultural Programme for the First World War Centenary.
Diane began her career as an historic buildings researcher before moving into exhibitions, education, and interpretation. She has worked on some of the most challenging and exciting projects in the country, including the recovery and display of the Mary Rose flagship in Portsmouth Harbour, and redisplay of the Nelson Galleries at the Royal Naval Museum.
Before joining IWM, Diane was Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. In February 2014 she was appointed to David Cameron's Holocaust Commission's Commemoration Expert Group Committee. Diane was awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list for services to museums.
Diane Lees said: "I am delighted to accept this honorary degree. The University of Reading and its museums have an impressive set of collections, and I'm honoured to receive this award from an organisation committed to raising awareness of the history of rural life, the ancient world and the animal kingdom. I'm extremely grateful for this recognition, and to have the opportunity to visit the Museum of English Rural Life at this important moment in its redevelopment."
Diane Lees CBE was presented for the Honorary Degree at the 12 noon ceremony on Wednesday 8 July by Kate Arnold-Forster, Head of the University's Museum and Special Collections Services. Diane then enjoyed a tour of the University's Museum of English Rural Life which is undergoing £1.7m redevelopment and is due to open its doors in just under a year.
Kate Arnold-Forster said: "It was a great honour to present Diane Lees with her honorary degree. Diane Lees' deep belief in the relevance of museums to peoples' lives lies at the heart of her remarkable career and achievements. This echoes the University's ethos and commitment to bringing the public closer to history and zoology its wonderful museums and collections.
"Too few women hold positions at this level in the museum world. Running a large organisation is a hugely complex task. Diane's courage, dedication and sense of humour are the keys to her success. Her leadership inspires those who work for her and the wider profession - her motivation empowers museums to tell relevant engaging stories in new, innovative and accessible ways. This honour is richly deserved."