Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Washington DC Reviews

Updated May 19, 2017
112 reviews

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112 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. 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


  2. "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.


  3. "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


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. "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.


  6. "Office of Fellowships and Internships Intern"

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

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

    Pros

    Outstanding exposure to other departments within SI
    Was assigned a range of projects, including data entry, writing articles, video editing
    Great location, great intern benefits (if you're into all things Smithsonian)
    It was very flexible -- if I couldn't come in one day it wasn't a huge deal

    Cons

    Sometime I had to create work for myself. The intern class during my year was very big, so assignments were split up between us -- if you're the only intern in the office you won't have a problem with too much downtime.

    Advice to Management

    The intern program my year was relatively unstructured, which was beneficial in some ways, but I think it would have ben helpful to everyone for each intern to have a specific role. All-in-all, the environment was positive, and I learned a lot.


  7. "Contractor"

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting work, fair pay, good people

    Cons

    Very limited chance for advancement. Your chances of getting permanent work from being a contractor is the same as an external candidate with similar experience.

    Advice to Management

    Stop relying on contractors to get all the work done, and then pass over them when permanent positions become available. Leads to very low morale.


  8. "Volunteer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Freelancer - Volunteer in Rockville, MD
    Former Freelancer - Volunteer in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Smithsonian (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I have passion on ARTS and helping people.

    Cons

    No income or job opportunity.

    Advice to Management

    I recommend to remodel/undated all the restroom in "The Castle".


  9. "Postdoc at the Smithsonian"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I have been working at Smithsonian as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Low stipend, no benefits, no opportunity to apply for NSF grants

    Cons

    High cultural environment, lots of money from the goverment


  10. "Contractors- not worth the extra taxes"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Arlington, VA
    Former Contractor - Research Analyst in Arlington, VA
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great work environment, friendly people, everyone loves to be there.

    Cons

    Old man organization still. People who work there are most likely going to retire there.


  11. "Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Analyst (Contractor) in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Program Analyst (Contractor) in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great Staff (non-management), education, access to some of the best museums in the world. The educational experience is like no other place in the U.S.

    Cons

    Limited Advancement, limited growth, compensation not equivalent or commensurate with experience. GS grade levels are low for the level of work performed.


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