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Planned by the architect poitevin Jean Monge and built in 1974, it stands at the site of the former Abbaye Sainte-Croix, which was moved to Saint-Benoît, Vienne. It is a constructed of concrete and glass, in the 1970s style.
The museum hosts a permanent exhibition on periods from prehistory to the contemporary art, through the medieval period and the Fine arts. Major works include sculptures of Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, a reliquary vase from Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, paintings by Piet Mondrian and Odilon Redon and the stone sculpture of L'Âme de la France by Charles Marie Louis Joseph Sarrabezolles.
Le Repos de la Sainte Famille pendant la fuite en Égypte, Louis Gauffier, 1792.
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