The Museum of Contemporary Art was inaugurated in 1985 by Haute-Vienne district council and has the status of a "Musée de France".
Housed in an historical castle, its identity has been forged by a willingness to explore relations between artistic heritage from the past and contemporary creativity, as witnessed by site-specific sculptures commissioned from international artists such as Giuseppe Pennone or Richard Long. Over time the museum has built up a significant collection of over 250 contemporary artworks, complemented by extensive archives of documents and collection of works by the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann.
Major renovations carried out in the late 1990s by architect Jean-François Bodin and Atelier Ardant, resulted in reorganisation and upgrading of the museum exhibition spaces, extending them to over 1500 m2 with a mixture of traditional "white cube" style galleries and carefully integrated historical parts of the castle such as the tower and massive wood-beamed castle garret.
In addition to regular presentations of the permanent collections, the museum organises thematic or monographic exhibitions, often commissioning works from featured artists. Examples include le Grenier du Château (Castle Garret) by Annette Messager and Christian Boltanski (1990), Thierry Kuntzel's Tu (1994) or an installation work consisting of four solid-light films by Anthony McCall in 2007. Every exhibition includes out-reach projects designed to engage with visitors and the local community, an important integral component established by the museum since its creation and an essential factor in the life of a museum situated in a rural environment.