The Board of Trustees of Imperial War Museums (IWM) has announced the appointment of Caro Howell MBE as IWM’s new Director-General. Caro will take over from the current Director-General, Dame Diane Lees on 1 May 2023. Dame Diane Lees will remain in post until the end of March next year.

Caro is currently the Director of The Foundling Museum and has over 20 years’ experience in museum leadership roles. She has widespread expertise in gallery education, audience development and delivering major capital projects.

During her time at the Foundling Museum, Caro has grown the organisation, establishing it as one of the UK’s leading independent museums, and building on its mission to transform the wellbeing and life chances of young people through the power of the arts.

As the former Head of Education & Public Events at the Whitechapel Gallery, Caro oversaw the development of major new education spaces and project galleries. As part of Tate Modern’s set-up team, Caro formulated its audience development strategy and developed London’s first peer-led museum programme for 15–23- year-olds. Caro Co-Chairs the Women Leaders in Museums Network and is an advisor to several museums and arts organisations.

Earlier this year, Caro was awarded an MBE for services to museums. The recruitment of Imperial War Museums’ new Director-General was guided by IWM’s Board of Trustees, with the formal appointment made by the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP. The interview panel consisted of Trustees and external representatives from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the museums and heritage sector.

Caro Howell MBE said:

I feel very honoured to be asked by the Trustees of IWM to become the new Director-General. Under Dame Diane Lees’ leadership, IWM has transformed the ways in which conflict and its impact are explored.

IWM is unparalleled in its ability to trace complex ideas across centuries and continents, held in stories, objects and emotions that speak to us all. Like the Foundling Museum, stories are at IWM’s heart. At a time when the war in Ukraine is impacting the lives of millions around the world, IWM’s mission could not be more vital.

I look forward to developing its reputation for reaching new audiences across all its sites, through bold, inclusive and global storytelling.

Caro Howell MBE

Matthew Westerman, Chair of IWM’s Board of Trustees said:

I am delighted that Caro has accepted the position of Imperial War Museums’ Director-General. Caro has significant experience in museum leadership and has a proven track-record in developing and delivering organisational vision and mission, as well as successfully leading on major capital projects.

I believe Caro is the ideal candidate to build on Diane’s fantastic work and to lead IWM as we grow into the future. The Board of Trustees and I look forward to working with Caro to deliver our strategic objectives, and to realise our mission to develop and communicate a deeper understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war.

Matthew Westerman, Chair of IWM’s Board of Trustees

Image Source:

  • Imperial War Museum: Picryl