Fiona Talbott is retiring as the head of policy for museums, libraries and archives at the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The organisation will start recruiting for a replacement soon but in the meantime the role will be carried out by Melissa Strauss, the policy manager at the Heritage Fund.
Talbott, who has been at the organisation for 13 years, led the National Heritage Memorial Fund between 2010 and 2019, overseeing acquisitions including Wentworth Woodhouse, HMS Caroline, the Galloway Hoard and the Cuthbert Gospel. She has directed the two rounds of the Collecting Cultures programme, which supported museums and archives to strategically acquire collections.
“Fiona has had a big impact on the fund’s work and her generosity of spirit, her insight and influence has helped the fund achieve more for museums, libraries and archives,” said Heritage Fund head of policy Jacob Eliot. “While it’s sad for us to see her retire, I’m excited for her next steps and hopeful she’ll find different ways to continue to contribute to the sector.”
Talbott has worked in the sector for 40 years, and has led local authority and university museums, as well as running the London office of the area museums council, South Eastern Museums Service, and leading its successor, the London Museums Agency. She joined the Heritage Fund 2008 from the London Borough of Hackney, where she was the head of museum and arts.
She is currently a trustee of the William Morris Society and intends to continue in the heritage and cultural sector in a voluntary capacity.