April 23, 2019 | 71° F

Johnson & Johnson holds ribbon cutting for interactive museum

Photo by Flickr |

"Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse" is a museum opened by the company displaying how it got started in New Brunswick. The display opens May 1 and is only open to Johnson & Johnson employees, partners and hosted members of the New Brunswick community. 

This week, Johnson & Johnson introduced a new interactive museum that educates guests about the medical innovations and history from the company.

"Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse" also tells the story of how the company grew from its roots in New Brunswick. The launch was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony with Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky and New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill.

Cahill recalled "the beginning of a beautiful friendship" between New Brunswick and the company when James Wood Johnson, a founder, rented a building in the city in the late 1800s.

“New Brunswick has been home to Johnson & Johnson ever since that time in 1886,” Cahill said.

Alexandra Holland is the Enterprise Strategy & Communication Leader at Johnson & Johnson. She explained the company had been working on the project and exhibit for four years.

“About four years ago, there was a lot of research done about what goes into how people perceive Johnson & Johnson and reputation and a big piece of that which goes underplayed was our heritage,” Holland said.

She said the purpose was to bring the outside in so the community can see what Johnson & Johnson is really about.

“Most people just know us as a baby company,” she said.

Johnson & Johnson is an American multinational medical device, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer.

Most consumers know Johnson & Johnson for numerous household names of medications and first aid supplies like the Band-Aid Brand line of bandages, Tylenol medications, Johnson's baby products and Neutrogena skin and beauty products.

“(Johnson & Johnson) is a company you may not see if you just know us as a baby or pharmaceutical company,” Holland said. “It’s about looking forward and profiling the great stories that are coming out of the business today, tomorrow and really always.”

The company takes part in global and community-based partnerships.

According to a display in the exhibit, Johnson & Johnson collaborates with the United Nations, the Fistula Foundation, Mercy Ships and other organizations to prevent Fistula, a disease that often affects women in rural areas and impoverished nations.

Without access to emergency intervention, the physical trauma of laboring for days leaves women with a hole in the birth canal that leaks urine and feces. Fistula leaves women permanently disabled and often socially isolated.

Chief Historian of the company Margaret Gurowitz is the curator of the exhibit, which is in the original powerhouse on Johnson & Johnson's global headquarters.

“We’re actually standing in the largest artifact in the collection — this building," Gurowitz said.

She said it was Johnson & Johnson’s first all-electric powerhouse where manufacturing was done. It was restored to the way it was in 1907 with the original glazed tile and ceiling.

The displays in the exhibit tell the story of Johnson & Johnson’s medical innovations, and how they relate historically and culturally.

The museum has a rotating exhibit space which can be changed and switched.

In honor of the centennial commemoration of the U.S. entry into World War I, space showcases the medical innovations that were used in World War I to save lives.

World War I presented a new kind of warfare which presented new medical challenges.

“The wounds were more severe,” she said. “(The company) stepped into mass produce the Carrel-Dakin Solution to save soldiers lives.”

Gurwitz explained how Johnson & Johnson sees the world around it and perceives challenges to innovate and step in.

The most colorful display featured Band-Aid tins from floor to ceiling from throughout the years that showcased pop culture icons from throughout the times.

Many displays were interactive with touchscreens, and there was even a smell booth that smelled of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.

Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse will be open by appointment on May 1 only to Johnson & Johnson employees, partners and hosted members of the New Brunswick community.

Jillian Pastor

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