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Broad museum’s online reservation system crashes; first two days sold out

A night view of the Broad museum, which will open Sept. 20 in downtown Los Angeles. The museum began offering online reservations on Monday, and high demand crashed the system.

A night view of the Broad museum, which will open Sept. 20 in downtown Los Angeles. The museum began offering online reservations on Monday, and high demand crashed the system.

(Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times )

The public’s enthusiasm was apparent -- maybe a little too apparent -- on Monday when the Broad museum began booking online reservations for its Sept. 20 opening and beyond.

By midafternoon, the Web page for reservations to the new contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles carried an announcement in red type: “Due to overwhelming demand, our ticketing system is currently down.”

Would-be attendees were invited to type in their email address, with the Broad promising to message them when the problem was solved.

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Museum spokeswoman Alex Capriotti said thousands of reservations were completed before the system crashed under high volume, with demand particularly strong for opening day.

By late afternoon Monday, the system appeared to be working again. By Tuesday morning, all available tickets for Sept. 20 and 22 had been claimed. (The museum will be closed on Mondays, including Sept. 21.) Reservations could be made for Sept. 23 and later dates.

Admission to the Broad will be free. But, anticipating intense demand, as is often the case with new cultural venues, museum officials set up a system in which visitors reserve a time slot rather than risk showing up at the door and having to wait to get in.

Museum director Joanne Heyler said in a recent interview that the Broad, whose holdings include Andy Warhol soup cans, won’t make visitors feel as if they’re trapped in a sardine tin.

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“The overriding concern is to offer a meaningful, comfortable experience,” she said. “It isn’t that much fun to be in an overcrowded gallery. We’re going to watch very carefully to strike the right balance, with access for as many as we can, but not an uncomfortable experience. We want to keep artworks safe from accidental bumping that can happen when there’s overcrowding.”

The attendance record for a Los Angeles art museum site is 1,746,246 at the Getty Center in 1998, its first year of operation.

Follow @boehmm of the Los Angeles Times for arts news and features

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