Exploratorium Reviews in San Francisco, CA | Glassdoor

Exploratorium San Francisco Reviews

Updated March 2, 2017
26 reviews

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San Francisco, CA

3.1
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Dennis Bartels
18 Ratings

26 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • World-class research and development (in 3 reviews)

  • You will be working for the coolest museum EVER (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • The lack of opportunities for growth may have to do with the company's non-profit status (in 4 reviews)

  • Decision making can be lengthy and bureaucracy levels high (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great and inspiring place!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  2. Helpful (3)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Cool design project but poor management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


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  5. "Interesting place to work"

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

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

    Pros

    Interesting mix of profit and non-profit to keep track of

    Cons

    Hard to get non-profit side to recognize the need for money


  6. Helpful (2)

    "A complicated place to work"

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

    I worked at Exploratorium (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Amazing collection of people and projects

    Cons

    A somewhat dysfunctional management system

    Advice to Management

    Hire more people who make things, not more layers of management to manage them


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Trouble afoot"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Customer Service Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Exploratorium part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing environment! Being in the museum and getting to learn about it is like being a kid in a candy store. Fantastic diversity of coworkers, you will always be learning.

    Cons

    Management has been called out several times for its communication issues and for not developing the talent that wants to be there. The budget has been mixed around, positions have been combined, and the brand new director was hired from the outside in, At entry level in the frontline positions, don't hope for much advancement unless you already have the experience.

    Advice to Management

    Pay close attention to who cares, those are the people that are going to make the museum grow. And if you don't let the under-staff know your intentions, we will assume the worst.


  8. Helpful (2)

    ""confederation" of departments."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The Explo is an amazing place full of brilliant and talented people, great ideas being bounced around, and there's room for those to grow. Very DIY enviroment, and loose "cohesion" of departments.

    Cons

    Like a mentioned above, the style of loose departments working semi-autonomous from each other resembles a confederacy-like structure. Communication is hard between these departments and can become an obstacle when working together is necessary.

    Advice to Management

    Hire passionate people who care about the institution and the goal! Not people just here to make a quick buck or a a nice little cherry on their resume!


  9. "Summer Internship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Public Information Intern in San Francisco, CA
    Former Intern - Public Information Intern in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Exploratorium as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I was able to connect with staff members in different areas of specialty and invited to important staff meetings and lectures. I was primarily responsible for updating the events calendar and populating local calendars with events, as well as archiving physical media into digital format. I was given a lifetime membership and my boss often took me out for lunch. My work schedule was very flexible.

    Cons

    I was not paid and often had to work in different areas frequently due to lack of office space. Occasionally, I felt very isolated and bored staring at a computer for so long.

    Advice to Management

    I would advise management to create a better work place for interns where they can connect with other interns and have face-to-face interaction with staff members on a daily basis.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Anonymous"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales & Events Supervisor in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Sales & Events Supervisor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Exploratorium full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Non-profit organization that offers a different client to come the the Exploratorium and enjoy in a private setting.

    Cons

    Not an organization that promotes nor encourages the staff to grow in their career goals.

    Advice to Management

    Needs to work on communication, pay and promotion and to acknowledge hard work.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Great place, with serious issues"

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of very smart and dedicated people there, who really do care so much about science, education, the arts, technology, learning...etc.

    Cons

    The huge upheaval of the move to a new location, followed by multiple rounds of layoffs, means that staff morale is absolutely in the dumps. I survived one round of layoffs but still got caught by another. It was hard to trust anyone or believe anything the bosses were saying. Union members have some protections against bad bosses but if you are middle management (as I was) you have nothing.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out what kind of institution you're trying to run, and value the people who have spent their whole careers making it into the place that it is.


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