By Motu proprio of 1761, Clement XIII authorised the birth of the Profane Museum, the first museum collection of profane antiquities in the Vatican, for the exhibition of sumptuary arts, the instrumentum domesticum (cameos, ivories, rock crystals and small bronzes) and, until the early nineteenth century, the papal numismatic collections.
The space - also initially referred to as the "Medals Room" and situated at the end section to the north of the Clementine Gallery, in a dialectical relationship with the Christian Museum of Benedict XIV, located at the opposite end of the Library hallway - was inaugurated in 1767. The architectural design for the entrance from the Clementine Gallery, decorated with two statues with a human body and lion's head (Aion, Time, or Arimanius, a divinity of Persian origin), was instead completed at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The eighteenth-century face of the collection was devastated by the removal of many items by Napoleonic forces, leading the most prestigious works to be dispersed in Parisian and other foreign museums. The current display is therefore inspired by the arrangement of the objects at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The layout of the room is intended to highlight the collections of origin, and holds the Carpegna, Vettori and Assemani collections present in the museum at the time of its founding. In addition, various items of unknown provenance are displayed, along with others, from known origins and found during the nineteenth century, mounted in special frames designed to be hung in the display cabinets. The remaining material in the collection (of unknown origin, discovered in eighteenth or nineteenth century excavations, or acquired after 1800) was instead distributed in the Clementine Gallery as follows: in the Encyclopaedia Section, intended to illustrate the breadth of collecting interests in the Museum (bay I), the Pontifical State, nineteenth century excavations (bay II), the Pontifical State, eighteenth century excavations (bay III), the Thematic Sector, with items dating from the pre-Roman and Roman era of unknown origin.