Smithsonian

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Smithsonian Reviews

Updated October 19, 2014
Updated October 19, 2014
99 Reviews
3.8
99 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough
Wayne Clough
42 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It is quite an interesting place to work with behind the scenes understanding of what happens in the largest museum complex in the world (in 3 reviews)

  • Great benefits after two years of employment and committed people (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Not much of a chance for full time position (in 5 reviews)

  • Huge bureaucracy, it takes a long time to process any new plan (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

41 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Exciting place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smithsonian (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Job opportunities, interesting projects, benefits, and mostly great people. They often have great growth opportunities. You can join a project and grow outside your job description. The benefits, even the non-federal workers benefits, are superb. The Secretary has shown incredible leadership.

    Cons

    You can get a bad supervisor. There aren't many options for you if that happens. You have to search for another job, either inside or outside the Smithsonian. It can be a federal organization, with promotions based on federal scales.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your staff, and ensure the leadership you hire shows engagement with the staff they have.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Fantastic but certain museums need better leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scholarly Studies Fellow in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Scholarly Studies Fellow in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Smithsonian as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    Excellent resources, and some of the most knowledgeable and sharp scholars that exist.

    Cons

    A little too much red-tape and overkill with policies and procedures; I know it is intended to accurately spend donor and constituent money, but it ends up wasting enough full time employee time that it isn't worth it. Expedite processes!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership, time management, and conflict resolution training should be a priority for those in charge of people. ("people" includes fellows and interns too!) Lack thereof reduces morale (Not in my position, but in the full-timers that I know)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Exhibits technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Cool displays to work with

    Cons

    office for engineers is in parking lot

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    A little boring and a lot of old male academics...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anthropology Department in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anthropology Department in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    I was great to be able to go on tours of the collections and be around tons of intellectual powerhouses. Some of these people literally wrote the book on the discipline.

    Cons

    Being cooped up in an office on the top floors of the Natural History museum could get very isolating. It was also difficult to be around so many tenured members that were very much stuck in their ways of doing things. The average age of the department was over 60 and male which made it a very masculine, conservative environment to work in. Also, all the internships are unpaid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It might have been nice for the interns to have more abilities to connect with other departments (or really for all the departments to work together more).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    My experience interning at the natural history museum was good, extremely relaxed, and I had a lot of independence

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Smithsonian in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Smithsonian in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Excellent managers, cutting-edge research, very relaxed workplace, people who tend to be good at what they do (at least in the research department) with a lot of creative staff. A lot of museum perks - roaming around, free imax tickets.

    Cons

    Pay is pretty low, there isn't much guidance - at least where I was working, but that can be good too. The office we were in was pretty terrible, and the internal network (in terms of data storage and access) is pretty difficult to deal with and very disorganized.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Positive but monotonous

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Prospect Development in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Prospect Development in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    I worked there as a summer intern at the Office of Advancement. Great perks (free webinars, conferences, talks, networking event, unlimited access to Smithsonian museums (including rides, movies, butterfly walk-throughs that you normally must pay for)), great colleagues and a sense of unity within each office

    Cons

    Because it is such a large institution, the sense of unity isn't spread throughout. Each office is separate and most hire internally. Many internships lack any financial support.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    exciting place to work if you don't mind a low salary and slow career growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    -lots of amazing experiences and events

    Cons

    -federal red rape
    -low salaries
    -hard to change anything
    -poor management

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Fast paced working environment, but very exciting job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Nice working environment, friendly colleagues(most of them). Fixed working hours for most employees.

    Cons

    Huge bureaucracy, it takes a long time to process any new plan. Long working hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Share more of the museum culture and identity to the new employees.

  10.  

    Fun, interesting place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great workplace if you're passionate about the topics with which you're working.

    Cons

    You have to be flexible and ready to deal with deadlines set months or years in advance.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Interesting and important, but way too dependent on interns.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smithsonian as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    In my job, I learned a lot about the field and actual applications of marketing and advertising theory. The people I worked with were very friendly and everyone had an interesting background/stories to tell.

    Cons

    As an intern, compensation was nil, but the office culture was friendly and not stressful. It was a valuable office experience that maybe would have been made more pleasant by some kind of pay, but there's not much that can be done about that I guess.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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