From 1986 to 2000 he was the Director of the Science Museum, London, UK. Before that he was Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Cossons has advised on matters of conservation and management in the UK and overseas and he has published and broadcast widely in this field.
Sir Neil Cossons OBE was the son of a Nottinghamshire headmaster. He was Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art from 2007 until 2015.