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The Broad has a slick app that will actually make your museum visit better

Written by
Sara Fay

There's been much anticipation and fanfare about the Broad, from the museum's veiled exterior to its extensive contemporary art collection. We've been blown away by one aspect in particular: its app. 

Stay with us on this one—we know that most institutions have an app and not all of them are that convenient, especially since they're pretty useless anywhere in the world besides the institution itself. But the Broad's app is not only a helpful resource when you're at the museum, it's also a way to sneak a peek at the collection before you go to the museum for the first time. Here are the five best things you can do with the Broad's app—and also the five reasons why you should download it now.

1. It has really, really good self-guided tours. The best thing about the app is how thoroughly entertaining and well done the self-guided tours of the museum are. A mix of audio, video, text and photos, the tours cover four topics: "Architecture Tour," narrated by Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio+Renfro, the firm that designed the building; "Inside The Broad Collection,” which features history, highlights, background and photos for many of the works; “Looking with LeVar,” an audio and video tour for children narrated by LeVar Burton; and ”Artists on Artists"—more on that one below. All of the tours are ripe with information and you don’t have to commit to one topic for the whole tour. There’s an a la carte format to each of the tours—you can easily switch between short 1-2 minute segments depending on what piece you happen to be standing in front of in the museum. You don't even have to be at the museum to self-guide yourself through it: you can learn a lot about the artists and the art in the collection whenever you open the app.

2. You can hear famous artists talk about other famous artists. The "Artists on Artists" tour starts off with an honest quote from Barbara Kruger. "To be honest with you, I've never listened to an acoustic guide. I'd rather go to hell." We hear you, Barbara, but this tour is different and way more special than your garden variety museum audio tour. "Artists on Artists" consists of short audio segments about some of the works on display by other famous artists also featured in the collection. Barbara Kruger talks about John Baldessari's Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell and Jeff Koons talks about Joseph Beuys Schlitten, accompanied by an old interview with Beuys himself and narrated background information about his career as an artist. As the introduction states, "Who better to hear talk about contemporary art than contemporary artists—about the artists who inspired them and the works that influence them. Their views, their words."

3. It's super easy to make and pull up ticket reservations. Admission to the Broad is free, but for the first few months after the museum opens, reservations are recommended for your visit. You can reserve tickets for a timed slot (every 30 minutes) right from the app. You'll create an account with the museum during the ticket reservation process and then your tickets will be emailed to you as PDFs. Either print them out, or just pull them up on your phone by signing into your account through the “My Broad” section; a QR code for your tickets will automatically save directly into your app. It couldn’t be easier.

4. You can see every single piece of art the Broads own. Including every piece on display and all the rest shacking it up in the vault, from their 571 works by Joseph Beuys to the single work by Chris Burden. In addition to images of all the art, there are very well written biographies of the artists. It’s quite a resource, and one we’ll be checking out long after visiting.

5. It has a map that actually works. It's not perfect, but it's one of the best ways to navigate the museum and find a bathroom just as quickly as Koons' "Balloon Dog (Blue)." Look at the floor plans to see thumbnails of the art works in each floor layout, or use the search function to quickly locate specific works or stairs, escalators, museum shop and the restaurant.

Ready to reserve your tickets? Download The Broad's app to save them directly to your account, or click here for more information.

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