Smithsonian Reviews

Updated September 26, 2014
Updated September 26, 2014
88 Reviews
4.0
88 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough
Wayne Clough
37 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
  • No possible full time for my position (in 4 reviews)

  • Unpaid position- no benefits other than the experience itself (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Editorial Intern Smithsonian Magazine

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Caring staff, supervisors not overly hands on, easy commute, great work atmosphere, great work life balance. Smithsonian Mag fostered great creativity with people who respected and appreciated any work you produced as an intern. You had to work hard, but everything was mentally stimulating and any feedback was constructive as opposed to criticism. Really couldn't have asked for nicer, more caring people.

    Cons

    I'm just kind of bummed that it wasn't paid, honestly. Other than that, it was the best internship I've ever had.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep on keepin on.

  2.  

    Intern

    • 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

    Pros

    Great place, not too much work there

    Cons

    Government organization benefits, would hold different events now and then, but you always have to pay by yourself.

    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    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 for less than a 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
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  5.  

    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 for less than a 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
  6.  

    Air Space Museum in Smithsonian

    • 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 a year

    Pros

    I can't imagine why anyone would dislike this place. This was a great place to work- nice environment. There are some good people working at the museum, but these are the down-to-earth hourly oompa loompas that are trying to make a living at a minimum wage.

    Cons

    Favored employees get the benefit to continue to work there. Very slow raising the hourly rate.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Contracting

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

    I worked at Smithsonian as a contractor for less than a 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.

  8.  

    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 for less than a 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.

  9.  

    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
  10.  

    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 for less than a 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
  11.  

    Summer Intern

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    Great place with great people.

    Cons

    Not much of a chance for full time position

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