The Broad Museum Tour

Rich Cherry, The Broad, Heather Hart, The Huntington, USA, Alex Capriotti, The Broad, USA, Lauren Girard, The Broad, USA

The Broad is a new contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, opened to the public September 20th 2015. The museum is home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140 million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase the Broad collection and is also the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.

Opening a new museum provides a clean slate for rethinking parts of the operation and to implement current best practices without the normal friction to institutional change and the extra effort that goes into managing that friction.  The Broad was envisioned by an entrepreneur and staffed with likeminded museum professionals who were given some unusual constraints including having a limit of 25 fulltime staff, a mandate for free general admission and an architecturally significant lobby without a good location for an admissions desk.

This tour will explore the implementation of several ideas that have allowed us to succeed.

A multipurpose mobile experience:

The Broad has launched a mobile app for the iPhone and Android platforms that is location and contextually aware allowing it to know where you are and to act accordingly.  The app provides pre visit, arrival and in gallery and post visit tools to enhance the visitor experience and provide data to the museum to improve.

The Broad has also created an innovative plan for mobile ticketing point of sale.  Guestsmeet a Broad visitor services staff member near the entrance to the museum. This staff person will check to see if the visitor is pre-registered and if not provide them with the next available reservation and also provide them with parking validation, tickets for events and information on other local venues, and special deals as well as reservations for dining in our partner restaurant. The Broad has also deployed mobile retail systems so that staff are able to complete transactions anywhere in the shop.

Enhanced visitor services as the public face of the museum:

The Broad floor staff consist of more than 100 part-time front line staff trained in service, hospitality, contemporary art, museum pedagogy and security to be the front line staff of the museum.  The Broad has developed an online Learning Management System (LMS) to train these staff on an ongoing basis. The program is built around a tiered-approach which motivates staff to: enhance and broaden a set of museum professional skills, acquire deeper art knowledge, and increase their ability to self-manage.  Staff are incentivized to progress through the system with increased responsibilities (such as giving tours), increases in compensation, and promotion.

Enhanced communication:

In the years leading up to opening, significant thought was given to communication and automation.  However some recent technology improvements have led to some significant enhancements in operations including our ability to facilitate effective communication between floor staff and enhancements to our ability to report on environmental conditions.  The Broad has implemented personal communication devices that utilize the wireless network and uses voice recognition to direct calls to specific individuals or groups.  We have also enabled staff to support visitors using tablets to look up information directly when they are speaking with a visitors.

8:45 am Meet the tour group at the main entrance of the Broad Art Museum.

9:00am Tour starts.

12:00 pm Tour ends at the Museum.


R. Cherry, The Broad: A new Art Museum in the Digital Age. In Museums and the Web Asia 2014, N. Proctor & R. Cherry (eds). Silver Spring, MD: Museums and the Web. Published September 28, 2014. Consulted November 12, 2015.