The cities of London and Paris have fostered one ofthe longest and richest traditions of museums as civic institutions. The Louvre and the BritishMuseum both originated in the 18th century and are among the first public museums in Europe. Since then each capital city has self-consciously displayed central elements of its nation’s civic culture through the artful display of objects in its burgeoning museum landscape. Now these capitals support in excess of 100 museums each. Both the heritage and multiplicity of museums in these two cities make them ideal centers to explore the various ways in which museums as institutions can flow from and contribute to national identity formations.