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At nearly all museums, the treasures on public display are but a small fraction of the riches within. Gallery space being limited, priceless paintings and rare sculptures are consigned to basements or off-site storage much of the time.

But the soon-to-open Broad museum next to Walt Disney Concert Hall will offer visitors a peek behind the institutional curtain, a concept that is central to the new building's design. Past the elevator, over a stainless steel railing and through a steep stairwell, a patch of glass offers a peek into the museum's storage area, "the vault."

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