One of the four actual cloisters at the museum.
The collection was started by George Barnard, one of those eccentric artsy Americans who moved to Paris to study art. He was a talented sculptor who supplemented his income by dealing 13th and 14th century art, and he built a private collection of architectural artifacts he got at bargain prices. He eventually sold his collection to John D. Rockefeller on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum.
Rockefeller purchased the land to create the park, and the museum was built from abbeys in France and Spain that were disassembled stone by stone and rebuilt into one cohesive building in New York, incorporating the cloisters and other art Barnard had collected.