Exploratorium Reviews in San Francisco, CA | Glassdoor

Exploratorium San Francisco Reviews

Updated December 9, 2017
30 reviews

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San Francisco, CA

3.4
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Chris Flink
1 Rating

30 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The work environment is collaborative, everyone is looking to help one another (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)

  • The museum is recovering from the way master planning was unveiled for several years (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Coordinator"

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

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

    Pros

    The community, culture and the content focus. If you are looking for a job where you will be friends with your colleagues, this is the place.

    Cons

    Recent master planning has caused frustration within the long term staff. The museum is recovering from the way master planning was unveiled for several years. That said, it is my personal option that upper management is putting more effort into open dialogue with the general staff, Union and management, producing affects that put the institution back on its way to better moral health.

    Advice to Management

    The current HR/OD department leads are making a huge difference in staff contentment.


  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 (2)

    "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. "Great and Innovative place to work with!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Exhibit Development Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Former Intern - Exhibit Development Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The place is filled with amazing people that are ready to help you whenever if you are experiencing some problems in developing your project or assistance with a machine. It's a great place if you just want to lay back and develop or help someone with their project to display in the exhibit hall.

    Cons

    I couldn't think of anything that would be placed on the cons side of the exploratorium. Probably more funding for the engineering and tech department? You are more than welcome to volunteer though.


  5. "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


  6. Helpful (5)

    "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.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "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.

  8. "Interesting place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  9. Helpful (2)

    "A complicated place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Trouble afoot"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


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