Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Reviews | Glassdoor

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Reviews

Updated 8 Jan 2019

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2.9
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34%
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Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum CEO Scott Belsky
Scott Belsky
0 Ratings
  1. "V fine"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends

    I have been working at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum part-time

    Pros

    Super organized company, medical benefits and travel compensation offered

    Cons

    long hours, kinda boring, stationary

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2018-07-01
  2. "Great experience but no upward mobility"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time

    Pros

    -Great department teams -Amazing collection -Constant inspiration from designers and exhibits

    Cons

    -No upward mobility -No room for financial upward mobility -Micromanaging directors -Expect a lot of additional work with no incentive -Most directors do not take input from their teams.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2019-01-08
  3. "Hierarchical and difficult to do most anything"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I really enjoyed many of my co-workers and felt that there was a lot of (mainly untapped) talent. There can fun opportunities to work at various events and some cross-departmental opportunity to learn. The Smithsonian provides a lot of training opportunity (but with the downside of having to be trained for everything or you are unable to complete your job- training takes a lot of time and you do have to travel to D....C. if they want to pay for you to go). The D.C. staff get a lot of extra perks like staff events at the zoo (as a New York employee, you get to see all the fun perks over email and never get to go). The Smithsonian staff in D.C. seem very nice though. The Smithsonian will contribute a lot to your retirement plan, if you stick it out for a few years.

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    Cons

    Since it is part of the Smithsonian Institution, you have to do everything by the book, which is fine, however, it takes ages to do anything and can be very frustrating, which can sometimes cause animosity between staff. For example, if you run out of paper you need to submit an order at least a month in advance for it to be approved; if you run out of supplies that's your fault. Additionally, if another staff... member gets approved to purchase something and you would like to borrow it, it can end up being a battle and lots of paperwork so you end up having to get things approved for your particular use and people don't like sharing. The management rarely praises people and raises are almost non-existent because of the government "step" system where it is more based off time at the company than merit. When promises are made for certain things like a wage increase or title change, they are often not kept or take so long that people end up feeling like they don't matter. When you talk to HR and ask some basic questions you are often given the run-around or essentially told that your question doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the Smithsonian. HR is aggressive, condescending, and unhelpful. They will bend over backwards to appease anyone who gives them any money even if they are extremely rude to the staff.

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    Advice to Management

    Act like your staff matter. Hold more all-staff meetings to boost morale. Make sure promises are fulfilled.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2018-07-25
  4. "intern"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

    Pros

    People are fantastic. 90% of the people working there are really interesting and passionate people that care about the museum and the work a great deal. All of the departments have a female head which I love to see

    Cons

    Can be very disorganized at times. Issues with staffing and maintaining employees because of this.

    Advice to Management

    Clearer job responsibilities.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2018-02-28
  5. Helpful (2)

    "Summer Intern"

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    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern 

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

    Pros

    Smithsonian institution in New York City. Beautiful location and collection. Nice staff. I have heard they usually pull from their intern pool when looking to hire new associates. A lot of free time, if you're looking for that in an internship.

    Cons

    Lack of direction from supervisors. Some days they wouldn't come in at all and left no direction for interns. Disorganized. I would ask for projects and responsibilities, even filling or cleaning on some days, they would be to busy to delegate.

    Advice to Management

    We have several museums we can intern at. If you want good interns, especially those in graduate programs, you have to have adequate programming that offers them opportunities to learn new skills or they won't come intern for you.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2016-01-30
  6. "Education Assistant"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time

    Pros

    Exposure to many facets of museum education programming and administration.

    Cons

    Lack of leadership and support

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2015-10-07
  7. "Maintenance"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time

    Pros

    The best thing is you start receiving your vacation days on first pay check

    Cons

    Lacks organization. People are not very nice to work with.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2015-08-12
  8. Helpful (12)

    "Mean Girls Club"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You become self-reliant and very efficient very quickly. You get to part-take in cool events and meet many people. Good job for networking

    Cons

    All those positive come with a price. My first year there I experienced panic attacks, massive headaches, and moments of delusion! I would cry all the way home and complain to my friends and family...why would someone endure this...because the museum is well known and has many connections. Senior management places unrealistic expectations on its team and often they do not provide the resources to complete tasks.... There is a huge lack of communication between management and the rest of the staff. When things go wrong, senior management acts aloof. Unfortunately, the work environment becomes a mean girls battle field - a place where people don't talk or are afraid to speak up. Whenever there were differences of opinion, I was told I was being disrespectful and not collegial. I never felt like I could ask my director for help - only close colleagues. I was promised a promotion for about a year, and although I was doing the tasks and working more - still nothing happened. I was told things like: "We are a federal institution, you have to do the work before you can get the raise." I understood, however this continued for many months. The environment is so toxic that many of my former colleagues have left within weeks/months of each other. Our department is a huge revolving door, and senior management continues to ignore the problem. HR is not helpful at all; when problems are brought up there is no place for the employee to express grievances. HR makes you feel like you are in a looney bin.

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    Advice to Management

    You must value your staff. Promote healthy team building activities, create an environment that is not judgmental, and one that allows employees to give advice to management in a safe space. Lastly, there is no room to play favorites! An institution is only as strong as its weakest link. A place that fosters education, should be a place of respect, tolerance, and great ideas created by a team.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2015-04-28
  9. Helpful (4)

    "Good place to learn about design. Bad place to have ideas heard."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time

    Pros

    Fun exhibitions, meaningful programs, you will learn a ton about design.

    Cons

    The culture gets two thumbs down. Stuffy, fussy and hierarchical, even though management is full of "happy talk" about collaboration, innovation, fun, etc. Compensation is embarrassingly bad. Many people feel extremely overworked, like they're doing the job of 3 people.

    Advice to Management

    Develop a real vision and voice, and stick to it. Stop the endless fawning over funders and give more attention to the public that you're supposed to be serving.

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2014-10-18
  10. Helpful (6)

    "Avoid if you value your health and sanity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Being part of the Smithsonian means the benefits are generally pretty good -- if you're a Federal employee and not a Trust employee. There is the opportunity to accrue a decent amount of vacation time. The salaries, in my experience were not on par with other museums or arts nonprofits.

    Cons

    The lunatics are running this asylum. As another review mentioned, certain department directors/managers can make your life miserable. In the three years I was there, my department of 10 turned over three times!! Except for the department director. Several of us got physically ill from the stress. The work wasn't stressful, it was the manager. HR is a waste of time -- they will give lip service but clearly now... action. I ran into someone who worked in the same department as I did only several years later (e.g. our paths never crossed until that moment) and all the management issues were still there.

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    Advice to Management

    Take a long, hard look at why some departments have constant turnover and try to figure out the common thread. Big hint: maybe it's the department manager!

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum2014-08-27
Found 14 reviews