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Why You’ll Love Visiting the MSU Broad Art Museum With Kids

Broad Museum with Kids in Lansing

The MSU Broad Art Museum Welcomes Kids – and Even Plans for Them

If an art museum is one of the last places you’d think to take kids, one visit to the Broad Art Museum on MSU’s campus in East Lansing is sure to change your mind!

Art museums may conjure up visions of quiet, whisper-only rooms, serious docents, and lots of off-limits expensive and breakable objects – in other words, an accident just waiting to happen!

After lots of visits to the Broad with my family of five (including three young kids), I’m here to tell you the MSU Broad Art Museum is extremely family-friendly!

A visit to the Broad Art Museum is one of the first things I recommend to out-of-town visitors.

Children’s area at the MSU Broad Art Mueum

11 Reasons You’ll Fall In Love With the MSU Broad Art Museum

When it comes to art on campus, I have to admit, I’m a little biased. My affection for art here at MSU goes way back. Back in the day, my boyfriend was an Art Major at MSU.

I remember waiting for him at Kresge Art Center, (the only art building on campus then) walking the halls and looking at art hung wherever it would fit between classroom doorways or at the end of halls.

Kresge Art Center at MSU

A few things have changed since then. That boyfriend has turned husband, and instead of carrying art portfolios, we’ve got arms full of kids.

We still love walking the campus for art, and SO appreciate the Broad Art Museum for displaying art so much better than it was back in our college days.

Most important to us now is having a space to invite our kids into, to instill a love for art, and to give them a chance to participate.

There are so many reasons we love the Broad Art Museum – here are eleven reasons why I recommend checking it out as soon as you get a chance!

Boy dancing at the MSU Broad Art Museum

1 – First Saturdays at the Broad Art Museum

If it’s the first Saturday of the month, it’s guaranteed you’ll find me and the fam at the Broad Art Museum. Family Day Saturdays are a day of hands-on art and experimentation that my kids never want to miss. I make sure to schedule everything on those first Saturdays around it!

Family Day is FREE the first Saturday of the month from 11 AM – 3 PM and every month has a different theme. There are several tables in one of the wings set up with materials and projects based on the month’s theme. Kids are guided by posted examples but also have the freedom to independently create whatever they want from the materials.

For instance, one month the theme was space, so stations included:

  • Making a headband art with wire and clay.
  • Button making using artwork of moon landings.
  • Interactive wall art.
  • A book nook with children’s books on space.

There’s plenty of room at the tables for parents to sit next to their kids and create alongside them too.

One of my favorite parts of this day is that all materials are prepped, organized, and cleaned up afterward, so I’m not the one doing it! This makes it so easy to be present and create something together as a family while everything else is taken care of.

Mother & son making art at the MSU Broad Art Museum

2 – FREE Admission 

The Broad Art Museum is something that is fun, interesting, and best of all, FREE! I love that there’s never any money needed for an outing here, which means an all-inclusive space for the entire community to gather

As a mom, this also means if it happens to be a day when the skipped nap isn’t working out so well and we have to head out early, there’s no frustration about having spent money!

We can head back home for that nap, and come back to visit again on another, better-rested day.

Boy jumping off small wall outside the MSU Broad Art Museum

3 – World-Famous Architecture

I am still in awe that we have a work from international star architect Zaha Hadid right here in East Lansing. Every time I walk or drive by this building I feel fortunate and proud to live somewhere with such a stunning piece of architecture.

Some people aren’t in favor of a building on campus that looks so different than the rest, but to me, it represents MSU’s dedication to progressive ideas and artistic experimentation.

The goal of the architect was for the building to have “an ever-changing appearance that arouses curiosity yet never quite reveals its content.” I think she succeeded!

Girl standing on small wall outside the MSU Broad Art Museum

4 – The Broad Art Museum was Designed by a Woman

Not only is the Broad designed by an amazing award-winning architect, but by an amazing woman architect.

When I was first explaining the building and architecture of Zaha Hadid to my daughter, I saw the look of surprise mixed with inspiration when she realized it was a SHE behind the beauty of the building we were standing in.

It’s extremely special that we get to bring our daughters and son here to show them the design and statement of a brilliant woman.

There is a photo of the architect (sadly, she passed away in 2016) which gives them something tangible for them to grasp if you’d like to talk to your kids about the architect.

Photo of architect Zaha Hadid

5 – Something Different is Refreshing

From the second you lay eyes on the museum, you’ll see it’s not your typical museum in any way, shape, or form. The angular, modern architecture is a stark contrast to the vine-covered collegiate brick buildings that surround it.

Once you step inside, you’ll see the art inside is just as unusual and unexpected as the view of the outside. With constantly rotating exhibits, you never know what to expect – but I can promise you it’s never stuffy, and it’s never boring!

Gift shop at Broad Art Museum

6 – The Modern Rotating Art 

The museum has mostly temporary exhibitions, instead of a permanent collection. Every time you come, you can expect to see something very different. The displays are always changing, and are very unusual.

Since modern art is so conceptual, you probably won’t know what you’re looking at unless you get an explanation from a guide. They provide docent tours if you want to pin down the concept behind the piece.

Sometimes it’s fun to roam the galleries and have a conversation about what they may mean though. It’s a great way to start a date night and transition your mind from the normal every day.

Spaghetti Wall exhibit at the MSU Broad Art Museum

Movie buffs will be excited to know that the Broad was used as the house of Superman’s archenemy, Lex Luthor, in the movie Batman vs. Superman.

You may remember the crowds on campus a few years ago trying to catch a glimpse of the actors, or maybe you were one of the 200 Lansing locals who made it on set as an extra!

It served as the perfect house for Lex Luthor’s character, as explained by actor Jesse Eisenberg here.

Making art during First Sunday at MSU Broad Art Museum

8 – The Broad has Lots of Natural Light

The walls of glass create a space where even if it’s a cold and blustery winter day, you’ll have access to lots of natural light. This is why we mentioned it as one of our winter blues busters.

There’s a café and small art store next to the glass wall area, so you can grab a cup of coffee while you browse fun gifts for someone you love, or just to treat yourself.

Large window work area at MSU Broad Art Museum

9 – Gorgeous Outdoor Seating

For those perfect spring and summer Michigan days, there is a perfect area for outdoor eating. It’s peaceful, inspiring, and located right on the border of East Lansing’s shopping district and main campus. Having lunch here is a perfect central meeting location, where you can venture out afterward in any direction.

We like to grab lunch from one of the restaurants along the strip across the street. We bring it over to eat on the tables before heading into the museum or making our MSU campus rounds.

Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum Drawing Marathon
Marathon drawing event at Broad Art Museum

10 – The Broad Art Museum has a Specific Kid-Friendly Area 

If you’re coming with little ones, it’s good to know that mature art can often be a part of the displays. If there is, there will be signs posted so you know where it’s safe to go.

If the content happens to not be acceptable on a given day, there is a small child’s area in the downstairs that’s always open for kids with a table for drawing, building blocks, and other crafts.

Since exhibits are always changing, feel free to call ahead of time to see how much of the museum will be kid-friendly on the day you are visiting!

Large chalk and paint wall at MSU Broad Art Museum

For locals, out-of-towners, families, or date nights, the Broad Art Museum is a place where everyone can visit and participate in art!

11 – The CORE

The CORE offers the opportunity to slow down and learn at your own pace. This collection is permanent.

Object-based learning and research, a specialty of the MSU Broad Art Museum, along with a variety of prompts and tools, will aid you in discovering the many possibilities that exist here

Plan Your Visit

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 884-4800


The Broad Museum offers free admission all year round. You can reserve your time to visit online. Upon arrival, you’ll be asked to give your name to check in. No physical ticket is needed.

The following items are not allowed in the galleries and can be left at our complimentary Coat Check during your visit:

  • Backpacks, shopping bags, and all bags larger than 11 x 17 in. Small backpacks are allowed if worn at your side.
  • Food, gum, or beverages of any kind
  • Tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, and umbrellas
  • Pens, paint, or any wet medium
  • Sharp of blunt items


Monday & Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM

Have you visited the MSU Broad Art Museum yet?

What are some of your favorite exhibits or events?

Please share in the comments below!

Magnetic wall at Broad Art Museum

Melissa Kranzo

Melissa is a wife and mother of three who loves to explore - and then write to tell about it! Melissa has lived in several areas of the US, and every move back to Michigan only increases her love and appreciation for the people, culture, and beauty of the mitten. When she’s not outside exploring or writing, you can find her trying to fit in a run before preschool pickup, teaching classes at her church, or filling up her phone’s camera roll with way too many pictures to ever print.

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