Smithsonian

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Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated December 8, 2014
Updated December 8, 2014
103 Reviews
3.8
103 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough
Wayne Clough
44 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

58 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great company, great people, WONDERFUL experience

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

    I worked at Smithsonian

    Pros

    -the people are VERY friendly and will go above and beyond to help you out in any way possible
    -you will learn something new and fascinating every day that you work here
    -very rewarding and rich experience

    Cons

    -they don't pay very well
    -I was only there for the summer
    -The few weeks of the festival are VERY hectic and time demanding

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Very positive internship experience at CFCH

    • 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 a year)

    Pros

    The Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage is a great place to intern, works on a wide variety of projects (in addition to the annual Folklife Festival). Interns are given challenging, intellectually engaging work. Area of focus depends on your supervisor.

    Cons

    After a wonderful internship experience at the CFCH, I was disappointed that there aren't many opportunities for interns to transition into employment. It's a fairly small Center, most staff are experts in their field and there are few entry level positions.

    Recommends
  3.  

    Excellent Federal position

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    Incredible project work, decent resources available, good employee socialization and recognition experiences. Plenty of opportunities to collaborate across departments and teams. The mission of the entire organization is strong and embedded in almost everything being done. Lots of chances to explore partner organizations in the area due to strong and long standing relationships that are very reciprocal.

    Cons

    Slow moving entity, it takes a long time to get to completion and many of the steps seem related to ingrained process versus project need. I sensed that some (not all) people were clock in/clock out types with little passion for the work being done but that's the curse of government work. To become proficient in the systems and work, one may need to work here for a few years, this applies to leadership as well - in other words, new leaders or supervisors may spend a lot of time acclimating to the new roles at the cost of providing leadership in the moment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Processes could be streamlined.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great experience!

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Very collegial work environment with extremely smart people. Work-life balance is fantastic. The agency values learning and diversity. Benefits are also good.

    Cons

    Takes a long time for things to change, though I think this is true of most government agencies. Pay is not as good as private companies, but still much better than most government agencies.

  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 (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.  

    This is a wonderful work environment, in the world's largest museum and research center.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Administration in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Research Administration in Arlington, VA

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

    Pros

    So many smart people, so many fascinating projects. There is a wide diversity of activities, cultural and scientific, from the exhibits and education programs seen by the public to the research in the labs. Its just like "Bones".

    Cons

    More than half the budget is federal appropriation, so when congress shuts down, so do we. Units can be rather insular, difficult sometimes to cross boundaries.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management has been good in recent years, no real complaint.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    HR iNTERN

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

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

    Pros

    Good opportunities to know people their and conduct informational interviews.

    Cons

    It's not that fast-paste. Sometimes you need to ask for work to do, but it depends on when the internship is.

  9.  

    Fantastic Intern Program!

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

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

    Pros

    One of the best intern programs! Besides going behind the scenes and being allowed after hours at museums, most employees - even directors - are willing to go out of their way to speak with you about their experiences and give career advice.

    Cons

    Some departments are more active or involved than others in the program so its what you make of it. The more people you reach out to the more you'll get out of the experience.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Incredible experience as an intern, but not much of a chance for paid 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 a year)

    Pros

    Behind the scenes look at incredible collections that aren't on display! We also got to go on exclusive tours at other museums beyond mine own
    Working with leaders in their field

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy - very challenging to work through the system
    Limited job opportunities - many employees have been working there for decades and it's hard to get a job as an intern with the limited turn-over and growth of the organization

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to hire your interns!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    The best place to work

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, understanding bosses, constant training opportunities. I absolutely love working here. As a contractor, I have the ability to have a flexible schedule. I have a great work environment that allows for collaboration and support without the competitiveness.

    Cons

    As a contractor, I am definitely taking a pay cut to work here. However I feel that the great work environment and exciting projects make it worth it. Also as a contractor you do not receive benefits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think management is doing a great job. I have never worked in a better place.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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