Exploratorium Reviews | Glassdoor

Exploratorium Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
59 reviews

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3.6
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Chris Flink
1 Rating

59 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • It has a positive work environment (in 5 reviews)

  • Learned about how to build a good work ethic (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Some of the standard non-profit drawbacks apply to the Exploratorium: (in 5 reviews)

  • No paid internship nor discounts at the museum store (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium full-time

    Pros

    Exploratorium is a fantastic place to work. Some of the highlights include:
    - amazing benefit program: vacation, medical, 403b, etc.,
    - co-workers are a family
    - the organization's mission to serve the community manifests itself in so many positive ways
    - work is both challenging and rewarding.

    Cons

    Some of the standard non-profit drawbacks apply to the Exploratorium:
    - advancement opportunities are presented only when senior staff vacate positions (which is infrequent)
    - nepitism is not uncommon
    - salaries are on the lower end of the non-profit scale even compared to other local museums
    - internal politics are ruthless at times
    - little flexibility to work remote

    Advice to Management

    A few fairly easy things would drastically improve the workplace environment:
    - create merit based salary review process
    - invest more money/effort into the onsite experience vs. external programs
    - pay more attention to margin


  2. "Administrative Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative Director in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Administrative Director in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Exploratorium full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great staff and exciting content.

    Cons

    Lacking in organizational maturity -- financial and personnel systems need improvement.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "A factory of both wonder and sorrow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Public Programs Coordinator in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Public Programs Coordinator in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Explo is a unique environment where you'll get paid to pull your weight, learn about science and phenomena, not have to dumb yourself down to be liked, and embrace constant challenge. In hindsight, they allow more creative say among their junior staff than other organizations. It's a very human place, almost village-like. There are many warm, unique and committed people who are your co-workers and peers. It will cement your work ethic, being here.

    Cons

    Despite diversity in personalities and lots of surface dynamism, there's a very strong sense of kool-aid here, a strongly entrenched way of doing things, an insularity that easily brews distrust and heartbreak. As someone who is culturally diverse and came from other disciplines outside of museums, I had a sorrowful six years year here, most days of which I felt unsafe or unwelcomed. If you're a person of color, you love science and this is your dream job, fair warning. You will have to be many times more positive, chipper, "yes-saying," error-free and overworked than you'd like to be, just to be passable and tolerated here. It is exhausting and wearing. Among those who I once counted as mentors here, their gems of advice were things like, "Try not to step on anyone's toes," "Keep your nose clean and just do as you're told." I can't help but think my white counterparts were given different encouragement and advice. Though the Explo claims to be "liberal," folks can be quite reactionary and provincial and intolerant of difference. This can translate to harm, especially if you are a professional of color with lots of ideas and lots to give. Just be safe.

    Advice to Management

    You get enough salt in these Advice to Management columns, many of them well-stated and keenly observed. I hope you read through all of them.


  4. "Be prepared for a challenge"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium full-time

    Pros

    You will be working for the coolest museum EVER

    Cons

    2 rounds of layoffs while I was there, morale very low


  5. "High school explaier"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium part-time

    Pros

    It is a great learning experience

    Cons

    Good
    I love the job


  6. "Great and inspiring place!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Explainer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Explainer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Surrounded by people who love their job, beautiful location

    Cons

    There was not a lot of opportunities for upward mobility


  7. "Attendant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Flexible, good training, easy to talk to managers

    Cons

    Disorganized sometimes and can be chaotic

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Not the cool place it once was, funding swallowed by layers of management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Exhibit Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Exhibit Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The exhibits and children's programs are inspiring - could look good on a resumé to have worked there.

    Cons

    You would think that given the Exploratorium's main product are cool exhibits they share with the world I was surprised to find after being there a short time that the Exploratorium suffers from a bloated and costly management system who aggressively gobbles up 90% of all the funding. Many of them are visibly working only about 30% of the time but getting full pay and benefits. We kept finding out that many of these positions were given to relatives of wealthy donors and board members.

    In addition they have board members and advisors from universities who spend a minimal amount of time contributing yet are paid up to 10 times the pay of the exhibit designers. If we brought up issues of poor treatment or lack of benefits we were made to feel as if we were lucky to have our jobs . Despite our degrees, portfolios and experience there was a general attitude that we were at the bottom of the food chain.

    Advice to Management

    Look in the mirror -are all of you really necessary? get back to what makes the Exploratorium great and value the creative people at least as much as the business folks.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Cool design project but poor management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Exhibit Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Exhibit Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Exploratorium full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Cool educational design projects to work on, great shop and lots of engineering experience in the building.

    Cons

    Very poor management and project support, very low morale for employees and they are all under compensated.

    Advice to Management

    Find a way to pay market rates and support projects before they fall apart.


  10. "Volunteer"

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

    Pros

    intelligent people & riveting projects, overall awesome place to work.

    Cons

    takes a lot of time to get things done due to design & review and massive departments.


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