Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Washington DC Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
118 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

3.5
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Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David J. Skorton
Dr. David J. Skorton
16 Ratings

118 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people, exceptional cause, interesting work (in 9 reviews)

  • An amazing and collaborative work environment (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • Most people ahead of you are in full time permanent positions (in 10 reviews)

  • Not much room for advancement if working in administrative field (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Smithsonian Gardens Intern"

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

    I worked at Smithsonian (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Great learning opportunities
    -Professional and knowledgeable co-workers
    -Beautiful gardens
    -Great city to work and live in

    Cons

    -Cost of living is high in Washington, D.C.


  2. "Great Mission, Great Collections, Great People, Not So Great Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing collections and programs that attract huge and grateful audiences. A known and trusted brand name.

    Cons

    A lot of the museum directors are egotistical people looking to further their own careers, and don't seem dedicated to Smithsonian as a whole. The new Secretary has turned out to be quite charming, but provides underwhelming leadership and direction. The new strategic plan is a jumble of meaningless catchphrases.

    Advice to Management

    Do more to unite the Smithsonian as one organization with one voice. Recognize and promote the talent you have on hand.

  3. "Love/Hate Relationship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I love the Smithsonian. The mission, the collections, the locations are truly world-class. The cache of working at the Smithsonian makes you blush at parties. The public loves SI. The work we do often makes a difference in many people's lives. We are the official cultural institution of the US, and also perform a tremendous amount of scientific research. It's really a magical place (some days).

    Cons

    I hate the Smithsonian. We're poor and filled with a large cadre of long term federal employees who checked out decades ago. Some of the worst managers I have ever worked with, who haven't updated their style since 1963. Management by fear and discrimination, promotes friends and suppresses those who actually perform work. Promotion? Dream on. People sacrifice their health for the institution with some literally dying in the office from stress. There is no accountability or repercussions for managers.

    Advice to Management

    Please offer an early out and get the old timers out of the building. Many of them are a waste of good air (and my tax dollars).


  4. "Eye Opening and Amazing Opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Communications and Marketing Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Communications and Marketing Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern

    Pros

    My supervisors were amazing and really gave me the opportunity to grow and explore my interests within the communications and marketing world. I felt that they trusted my capabilities and gave me responsibility that allowed for me to learn and grow as a professional.

    Cons

    Communication within the museum as a whole is difficult at times. Every office and individual is so busy with their own projects for the museum it can be difficult at times to get in contact with those you need to speak with.


  5. "Special Events Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Special Events Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Special Events Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Advantages of working with Smithsonian were the number of events you could attend, and the numerous resources made available to you.

    Cons

    Unpaid internship in a city that was quite expensive.


  6. "It was a amazing professional experience working at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Memorable experience being part of a well organized team of scholars, students and community members to bringntonfrurion the annual Folklife festival. Beimg able to work and learn directly from artists of all types from various countries.

    Cons

    Can be fast paced while working in the summer heat in the national mall. But you adapt just always carry a water bottle and snacks.

    Advice to Management

    I've enjoyed working almost every year since 2010 at the Folklife festival.


  7. "Great Summer Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Paid summer internship - a rarity in DC! A great opportunity to work at a respected institution on important historical and social issues. Also, lovely to be in DC and have access as an intern to the wealth of the Smithsonian's resources.

    Cons

    General populations tends to be older, lots of bureaucracy and resistance to change - probably indicative of public sector generally though, and not specific to the Smithsonian.

    Advice to Management

    Be more willing to hire young people and try new things! Continue to hire more interns, and make the most out of their time because they truly want to help!

  8. "Research Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian as an intern

    Pros

    One of the best internships I've ever had. The staff is passionate and kind, the work is meaningful, and they are flexible about conflicts. This is one of the best places for a student to both be involved in the "real" scientific community while still being in school. I could not recommend working at the Smithsonian more.

    Cons

    Wish I could've interned longer than 10 weeks!


  9. "Amazing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Museum Technician in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Museum Technician in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Metro access to all facilities, something I love is they also have opportunities to work with kids which is my goal by the end of all my schooling.

    Cons

    Not any in mind...a job is a stepping stone to a career...
    There are many places to pick from so deciding may be a con lol


  10. "research"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I have been working at Smithsonian part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing opportunities for investigations.
    Flexibility to work across all SI museums.

    Cons

    Work/life balance is a bit difficult, due to the amount of work to accomplish.


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