A few weeks ago, my daughter and I visited The Broad museum in Downtown L.A. with our friend Claudia and her son. I’m glad I made the free reservation online in advance, because it’s a hot ticket in town right now. It took about a month for me to get the tickets. Right now, the earliest available reservation on the calendar is in mid-February.
Claudia and I both have very energetic toddlers (they are almost three), so our visit to The Broad was quick and challenging.
Here’s an overview of my experience as well as some tips and important things to know before your visit:
The Broad is located in Downtown L.A. on Grand Ave. and 2nd. Street. The building, dubbed as “the veil and the vault,” was designed by DS+R and is easily distinguished by it’s porous exterior. It’s intended contrast to the smooth and shiny exterior of adjacent Walt Disney Concert Hall defines it’s place on popular, art-lined Grand Avenue.
Must see: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room
Sign up to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room as soon as you enter the museum. It’s a separate timed ticket you have to get in person. They will take your name and phone number and text you 10 minutes to arrive in line. The wait will vary, but it is worth it. When we arrived (around 11:30am), there was a 70 minute wait until our text for our line wait. After we received the text and checked in, we physically waited in line for about 20 minutes. Seventy minutes was the perfect amount of time for us to check out the museum and make Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room our last stop.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room is a mirrored room with an amazing light display. It seems to go on forever (hence, “infinity”), but you only have 45 seconds in the room so take your picture quickly and soak in all the beauty. My daughter and I went in together, and she sat in the stroller. I used the stroller at the museum guide’s recommendation. It’s a small room, and the viewer sits or stands on a platform over water, which is about 2 feet deep. I’m glad my daughter had some sort of understanding of what we were going to do. We enjoyed 45 seconds of awe instead of 45 seconds of screaming and tears.
Take the elevator
The elevator is very cool. It looks like something from a sci-fi movie. If we rode the elevator the entire time instead of looking at the exhibit, the kids would have been perfectly happy. We took the elevator instead of the escalator for our trip to and from the third floor, and they couldn’t stop talking about it.
Single strollers are OK, jogging strollers and double-wides are not. So leave the B.O.B. at home and read the rules.
There are very specific rules on The Broad‘s website (http://www.thebroad.org/visit/general-visitor-policies-and-faq) regarding strollers, bags, and baby carriers. You should definitely read them before visiting. If your child enjoys being in a front carrier, I suggest using it. Back carriers are not allowed. Keep the extra large diaper bag at home or in the car (bags larger than 11” x 17” x 8” are not permitted).
The Broad has several pieces of art that kids will appreciate (despite the intended meaning of some of the art). We really enjoyed the sculptures by Jeff Koons, Under The Table by Robert Therrien, and everything by Takashi Murakami.
A safe and educational guide to kid-friendly pieces are on the free app by The Broad. There is a family-friendly audio guide called “Looking with LeVar,” which is narrated by LeVar Burton, who many recognize as the host of PBS Children’s series Reading Rainbow. The commentary caters to school-age children, but as a parent, it can help you explain the artwork or use the list as a guide on where to steer your tour.
Look, but don’t touch
The Broad has some really fantastic pieces of art, especially sculptures. We rushed through the exhibits, mainly because the kids had a hard time keeping still. Everything is on display out in the open, so I found myself saying “do not touch,” every 30 seconds.
The Broad welcomes children of all ages, however, it seems to steer to grades three and above. For those below the age of eight, they offer four Family Weekend Workshops per year. These special events are catered to children ages 3 – 8.
Read signs before walking into the next room
Some of the artwork on view at The Broad may contain material with violent or sexually explicit content. Read the signs before walking into the next room. The signs are small, but will indicate if a room contains artwork of that nature.
Our kids are very young, so we did not have to do any explaining and were able to walk quickly past certain pieces. You, as a parent, are the judge of your own comfort level and maturity of your child.
If you are a fan of contemporary art, definitely check out The Broad. If you decide to take your kid(s) with you, bring a friend who can help. Age-wise, I think it’s best suited for babies who can sit quietly in a front facing carrier, or for quiet young children who can understand “no touching.” As far as school-age children, I would say it depends on the maturity level and interest in art of your child.
Good luck, and enjoy the new addition of The Broad to the L.A. art scene!
The Broad is located at 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
For tickets and visitor info, go to: thebroad.org/visit
Family Weekend Workshops: thebroad.org/programs/family-weekend-workshops