Smithsonian

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Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated November 6, 2014
Updated November 6, 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

13 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Great Team; So-So position

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Manager was pleasant, helpful. Department, located in Natural history museum, consisted of intelligent, friendly scientists. Great coworkers; close to Metro station.

    Cons

    Not much room for advancement if working in administrative field.
    During summer months its hard to find a quick place to eat lunch due to the summer crowds.

    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Graduate Level Internship

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

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

    Pros

    Generally nice people to work with. Curators can often come with egos. Good collection, but not the best.

    Cons

    Often have to deal with bureaucracy. Change moves slow. Technological aptitude is a not very high as many employees have been there for a long time and don't learn new tech. Moral can be low due to low wages, poor advancement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you primarily focus on expanding/growing the art collection, the employees will be left behind and leave for different opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Contracting

    Former Employee - Contractor in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Contractor in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    The Smithsonian offered many opportunities for individuals to expand their horizons. Great program for interns, wonderful to be surrounded by such great minds.

    Cons

    Difficult to commute to the Mall during the summer, low pay, no oversight, must sign up as a business if you do any contract work for them.

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  5.  

    Sounds fascinating, but ultimately, it's the government.

    Former Employee - Secretary in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Secretary in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    You can wander around the museum on your lunch break.

    Cons

    You're working for the government, in all its Kafka-esque, everything-in-triplicate craziness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Oh well, better here than Asia.

  6.  

    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
  7.  

    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 (less than an 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
  8. 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 (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
  9.  

    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 (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
  10.  

    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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    great setting, academic environment, good benefits

    Cons

    low pay, no career advancement

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    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 (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

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