Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated August 18, 2014
Updated August 18, 2014
81 Reviews

4.0
81 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Behind the scenes look at incredible collections that aren't on display (in 3 reviews)

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


Cons
  • No possible full time for my position (in 4 reviews)

  • Unpaid position- no benefits other than the experience itself (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

9 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Government Red Tape

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Incredible opportunities and resources, government benefits, and talented colleagues make the Smithsonian an appealing workplace. Plus you can't beat the name recognition on a resume.

    Cons

    There are forms upon forms to fill out, everything is heavy in procedure and red tape, and the institution moves slowly. Once someone is employed there it is impossible to get rid of them regardless of their competency.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Not terrible, great internship opportunity but crippled by bureaucracy

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

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Networking, resources, amazing curators and shows

    Cons

    Unpaid, bureaucracy, not a good way to get a foot in the door

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please do not gossip about former employees like mean high school girls. Highly unprofessional staff who constantly complain about being burned out AT work. Terrible role models and supervisors for interns.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great freedom but not great pay

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

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

    Pros

    I love the freedom I have at my job, my office has a great view and I get to learn interesting things and interact with people all over the globe. An academic atmosphere where no one is in any hurry.

    Cons

    The institution is chronically understaffed and a good portion of the staff are totally unproductive. Not the place for an ambitious career minded individual. Giving 110% will not be rewarded and you will just shoulder the burden of those retiring and those that will not pull their own weight. Considering the education and experience expected to gain employment you could easily make TWICE as much at another agency.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My direct management is "hands off" and departmental management is either MIA or unconcerned, which can be both a benefit and a curse. HIRE more, PROMOTE more, and that would improve morale and productivity immensely.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Awesome place, but management could do better

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great location and academic environment

    Cons

    No advancement, especially for minorities and discriminatory practices by Managers/Dept. Chairs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior Management/Directors should stop turning a blind eye to obvious discriminatory practices by Managers/Dept. Chairs. You may have smart, hardworking minority staff that have been around many years. If you haven't seen their names come up for promotion in over 10 years, start asking questions. Get in touch with all your workers, not just your Managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    academic/education setting, poor management

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    great setting, academic environment, good benefits

    Cons

    low pay, no career advancement

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    It is a nice environment to work in.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Sales Associate  in  Chantilly, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Sales Associate in Chantilly, VA

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    It is a big organization, and has an outstanding reputation all over the world. There's a lot of opportunity with in the organization.

    Cons

    Sometimes it gets boring due to repetitive nature of the job. There is not much to do around winter time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management have been good overall. My only advise is continue the standard of SI, and also conduct more seminars about grooming employees to become successful in the future.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Interesting colleagues, slow to implement ideas.

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

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Intelligent staff. Freebies. Big name. Cool projects.

    Cons

    Slow to implement new ideas. Sometimes feels like a government job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more tech savvy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Smithsonian

    Pros

    staff generally stay a long time
    access to museums

    Cons

    set curriculum, not as able to emerge from children's interests.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not your typical Federal Employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Library Technician  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Library Technician in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Smithsonian

    Pros

    The Smithsonian is a committed, intellectually stimulating, collegial place to work, while at the same time offering the stability and benefits of federal employment. The mission of the Smithsonian, the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, is clearly front and center to the Institution and its workers. It is quite an interesting place to work with behind the scenes understanding of what happens in the largest museum complex in the world. You are surrounded by highly intelligent specialists and experts in many different fields. Not only is it a museum complex, but much scientific and historical research is constantly being produced.

    Cons

    Like other government agencies, The Smithsonian is highly bureaucratic and slow to respond to changes, and can tend to be very hierarchical. The structure of the Institution, with 20 museums and numerous other research centers and office space, feeling like one institution can be difficult to attain. There has been recent trouble with the former leadership of the Institution, the ramifications of which are still being felt. There is an aging population of workers, many of whom have been there for a long time, so adoption of new technology and new approaches to work and management is slow and difficult.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you invest in the people who work at the Smithsonian and put their interests work, you would see much happier and productive workers.

    Doesn't Recommend

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