In 1841, thanks to the generosity of the painter Marc-Louis Arlaud and with the aid of the city and the state, Lausanne inaugurated an art gallery and a design school under the same roof. In 1906 the museum moved to the Palais de Rumine, while the school continued to occupy the premises until 1964 when it moved to Avenue de l’Elysée then, in 2007, to Renens.
In 1997, after a long wait, the beautifully restored austere neoclassical building rediscovered both its imposing bearing and its cultural vocation. Named the Espace Arlaud, it became the heart and soul of the cantonal museums – art, photography, history, geology, zoology and currency – and the cantonal and university library, welcoming their temporary exhibitions. This very popular location also occasionally hosts external events in keeping with its cultural mission.