Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Washington DC Reviews

Updated February 28, 2017
110 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

3.5
Star Star Star Star Star
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Approve of CEO
Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David J. Skorton
Dr. David J. Skorton
12 Ratings

110 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work environment, friendly people, everyone loves to be there (in 9 reviews)

  • I have the fortune to work behind the scenes and with the public at the same time (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Not many full time positions available (in 9 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. "James E. Webb Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great enrichment experience, wonderful peers, and a fun working environment.

    Cons

    I was working in National Museum of American history, so all your work tends to be a smaller part of the whole.


  2. "Research Scientist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Suitland, MD
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Suitland, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smithsonian mission is broad, collections fascinating, intellectual environment, research freedom, good budgets

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, lack of accountability for supervisors, subject to whims of Congree, very male dominated and uneven compensation and advancement for female scientists

    Advice to Management

    Senior management should improve atmosphere for female scientists with sensitivity training for unit directors and other management; institute greater accountability for hiring decisions, review and promotions; improve promotion potential and leadership opportunities for women; and apply compensation commensurate with that of male peers.

    Also, reduce bureaucracy (paperwork, forms, and administrative requirements) for professional staff. That work should be the responsibility of administrators.


  3. "Education Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Access to wide range of cultural objects. The Smithsonian has a constant audience which is ideal for an Education Specialist.

    Cons

    The Smithsonian can struggle between being an museum for the nation and being a local museum for Washington DC, often the local audience is overlooked.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to promote both local and national endevours and help those that are new to understand the red tape and pace that comes with government work.


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  5. "Superb"

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

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

    Pros

    Lots or organized field trips, social events, and professional development opportunities for interns. Supervisors who are looking out for you and actually care. Lots of flexibility and choice when it comes to projects, no busy work. Plus benefits like skipping lines and free weekly IMAX movies! I loved my experience at the Smithsonian!

    Cons

    N/a - it was everything I could ever ask for and more

    Advice to Management

    Outreach to more schools


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Not worth your energy!!!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Co workers and metro transportation paid monthly.

    Cons

    No appropriate raise according to your hard work. For example (literally) would be getting a raise of 15 cents or less. No family life balance. No respect. Favoritism. Discriminatory with regard to race, maternity and age. Late night shifts. Working company events and staying late shifts until 10pm and getting home at 11pm or later and scheduled and early shift the following day.

    Advice to Management

    ....no need to waste my time and energy with advice that won't be taken into consideration or more importantly advice that is never followed with an action.


  7. "Progressive Institution, Archaic Employee Treatment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flex work hours, telecommute policy

    Cons

    Health insurance premiums are atrocious. Maternity leave is a JOKE. Overworked employees and understaffed.

    Advice to Management

    Take care of women & families


  8. Helpful (1)

    "SI"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Education Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    good benefits, for trust employees 12% of your salary in your 401k without any match requirement.

    Cons

    very slow promotion rate and potential


  9. "Unique work environment, excellent work/life balance"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are few places as diverse and interesting as the Smithsonian. Most employed by the institution are passionate about their often very unique jobs. Colleagues are enjoyable to work with and there is a focus on work/life balance

    Cons

    As a quasi federal agency, there is a bit of extra red tape to work through. Career and promotional paths are not often clearly delineated.


  10. "NMAI is a great forward thinking place mired in typical gov mumbo jumbo"

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

    Pros

    Being one of the newest museums NMAI has a lot of young, passionate folks.
    There are also a lot of actual Native Americans truly committed to the mission after years of waiting for the museum to be ready.
    The museum is less focused on traditional trail of tears type stuff, and more focused on broadening the definition of native people as it's a very diverse group.

    Cons

    Lots of management nonsense - for example, they wanted the media team to move over to the Suitland location but they are really tied to what's going on the Mall so the team got split and rotate days between the two locations. Very confusing set up and odd management decision

    Advice to Management

    As with most gov organizations, work on efficiency and ensuring decisions are logical


  11. "Natural History Museum - Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern - Monthly in Suitland, MD
    Former Employee - Intern - Monthly in Suitland, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian (Less than a year)

    Pros

    As an intern in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology I was working with some of the world's leading researchers on all things invertebrate. Everybody was down to earth and inclusive. We regularly had guest speakers via Skype during lunch hours. Often went out to lunch and for meals. Overall it was a fun environment to be in.

    Cons

    At the time Metro was under construction so commuting was sometimes difficult. D.C. is a pricey area.



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