Smithsonian

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  www.si.edu

Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated October 16, 2014
Updated October 16, 2014
99 Reviews
3.8
99 Reviews
Rating Trends

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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

21 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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
  2.  

    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
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    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
  7.  

    Excellent Experience

    • 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 (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Government Perks, Staff are a dedicated group

    Cons

    Long Lead time on replacements. Under staffing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fund your IT infrastructure. Stop over working staff

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Satisfying but not long-term

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

    I worked at Smithsonian as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work environment, very laid back and everyone loved to share. As an intern I was encouraged to learn and branch out upon my field of study. Everyone loved sharing their experiences and knowledge.

    Cons

    As a contractor, I got paid whenever the Government seemed to have some money laying around (almost never). Even tied to my SSN# they frequently lost my contract money. I didn't see my boss for months at a time since he was always traveling. I was always encouraged to slow down because government workers "would run out of work if everyone had my work ethic."

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Invaluable Summer Internship

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

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

    Pros

    I got a broad range of experience while working at the Smithsonian for a summer at the Office of Exhibits Central. I was able to work on many different tasks and see a range of functions of the office.

    Cons

    Really, the only downside to the internship was that it was not paid. Also, I was working in the office in New Carrollton, so it was a bit inconvenient.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Good For Part-Time or College

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

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great Pay
    Great benefits if you like the learning opportunities
    Fun atmosphere
    Easy work

    Cons

    Unclear rules and management. No where to move up in retail.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Friendly, government, low stress environment

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Competitive salary, low stress environment due to being mostly taxpayer funded. More innovative, cool and flexible than most government agencies.

    Cons

    Still suffers from big government syndromes: slow to make changes, budgetary uncertainty (congress CRs causing projects to go on hold), unmotivated "govie" staff

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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