Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Washington DC Reviews

Updated July 26, 2017
114 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

3.8
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Approve of CEO
Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David J. Skorton
Dr. David J. Skorton
13 Ratings

114 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
  • 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. "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.


  2. "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.

  3. "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!


  4. "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!


  5. "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


  6. "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.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Research Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  8. "James E. Webb Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    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.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Not worth your energy!!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Education Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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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