London's National Portrait Gallery and Liverpool's National Museums are among 43 English museums and galleries to benefit from grants totalling £4m.
The National Portrait Gallery is one of 11 London institutes to benefit
It is the sixth year that money has been allocated under a funding partnership between the government and the Wolfson Foundation charity.
The cash will be spent on improving displays, public spaces and access.
London's Victoria and Albert Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, are the biggest winners with £300,000 each.
The National Portrait Gallery has been awarded £122,000 to provide lift access to its mezzanine, while the National Museums will spend its £220,000 on bringing Liverpool's historic docks to life through modern technology.
Others to benefit include projects in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich, Manchester, Carlisle, Stoke-on-Trent and Oxford.
The scheme has awarded a total of £20m to institutions around the country since it was set up in 2002.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said: "This year's grants go to an imaginative array of projects in national institutions, university collections and well-loved local museums and galleries.
"This funding will give visitors the best possible experience of some wonderful collections."
Among the projects to benefit are:
A new Buddhist sculpture in the Asia gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum (£300,00)
A double storey, 3D "Bio Wall" dedicated to the natural world at the Great North Museum, Newcastle (£200,000)
Creation of a major exhibition of London's history from 1950 to the present day at the Museum of London (£70,000)
Re-display of the popular Foreign Mammals Gallery - including the Norfolk Polar Bear - at Norwich Castle, Norwich (£60,000)