The Musée du Cloître first opened in 1978, following archaeological excavations carried out between 1963 and 1976 by the historian Léon Pressouyre, on the site of the former cloister of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Collegiate Church, a monument that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
These excavations unearthed three quarters of the cloister’s elements. They revealed a building of exceptional iconographic interest and lavish decoration. This cloister is a major monument in the history of sculpture during the transition from the Romanesque to Gothic era.
The cloister of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux was built to the north of the collegiate church in the 1170’s. It was an ostentatious monument, symbolising the wealth of the parish, which at that time received numerous donations from pilgrims who came to worship the Virgin.