Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum – Arcola Illinois

Notice!!  The museum is open and welcoming visitors for the balance of 2009 but following that it will be closing with the Museum pieces going to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
The management would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has come to visit and loves Raggedy Ann and Andy and encourages you to visit them when they move to the new locaiton….but again, please come and visit in Arcola for the balance of 2009!
Announcement: There will not be a Raggedy Ann Fesitval in 2009.  The city decided to cease having the festival.  Sorry.
Raggedy Ann and Andy.jpgJohnny Gruelle is best known for creating the world famous rag doll characters, Raggedy Ann and Andy. While the Raggedys were the indisputable centerpiece of Gruelle’s career, in his heart of hearts, Johnny was a dyed-in-the-wool freelance artist, who felt most at home at his drawing board, crafting illustrations and features for newspapers and magazines.

John Barton Gruelle was born in Arcola, Illinois in 1880. At the age of two, his family moved to Indianapolis, where his father, R.B. Gruelle, became known as one of the Hoosier Group of Impressionist artists. By his early teens, John Gruelle already knew he was a cartoonist. During a train-hopping adventure to Cleveland, Ohio in 1894, his caricature of a beat cop named Tom McGinty so impressed the officer that he supposedly offered to stake Gruelle while the boy sought cartooning work at a local newspaper. As it turned out Gruelle did not stay on in Cleveland (although he would return to live there years later). But after this experience, a career spent painting landscapes and portraits like those his father rendered seemed far less appealing than one spent turning out pithy little funnies for a living.

In 1901 the 20-year-old Gruelle landed his first newspaper job, at an Indianapolis tabloid called the People. There he worked for several months creating rough-hewn "chalk-plate" portraits. By April 1902, Gruelle had moved on to the more mainstream Indianapolis Sun, while managing also to do work for the Detroit-based Peninsular Engraving Company.

The Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum opened to the public in May of 1999, in Arcola, Illinois. We are the only officially licensed Raggedy Ann & Andy museum in the world!

The mission of the Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum is to preserve the life and times of the man who created the storybook characters, and to promote the inspiration, values, and spirit of imagination that has made them an American institution for so many years.

The Museum is open by appointment only from January 1st through March 15. Our Gift Shop, Marcella’s Corner, remains open for mail orders during this time, with Winter Hours from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (CST) Tuesday through Friday.

After March 15th, our hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST) Tuesday through Saturday. We are closed Sunday, Monday, and all major holidays.

Phone: 217-268-4908  



  1. MARION BURNS says:

    I am bringing a bus group of adults to your area in October, 2009 and would love to take them through your museum. Please e-mail me with details of your tours and how a tour can be arranged. I will have 50 people.
    Thank you,
    Marion Burns, President
    PO Box 397
    Slingerlands, NY 12159

  2. I have forwarded your inquiry on to the museum and asked them to contact you directly. I am certain that your group will enjoy the museum, who couldn’t be charmed by Raggedy Ann and Andy??

    Pat Watson

  3. John Fawcett says:

    Hi, Has the raggedy Museum closed? I keep clicking on their link and it will not come up. I have some incredible Raggedy art that is looking for a home and thought they might be interested. Thanks
    John Fawcett Manie Antique Toy & Art Musem

  4. I just called the museum and got a recording (apparently I called to early) and told them about their site being down. Although the site is down (and hopefully they will get it up and running again) they obviously are still open. Sorry for any problems you had.

  5. Nelda Weber says:

    Will there be a Raggedy Ann Festival in Arcola in June, 2009?
    I will be visiting from N.M. during the month of June.
    Sincerely, nelda weber

  6. There will not be a festival in 2009.

  7. John Buckingham says:

    It’s terrible news the museum is closing! We visited (from Connecticut) in 2007 and were planning on returning. Maybe we can make it back before you close this year.

  8. brenda grubb says:

    Well, my Raggedy Ann heart is broken!!!!!! We were not able to attend the festival every year but when we did it was wonderful!!!!! I’m also sad that the museum is closing because it was a class museum. I have a whole room devoted to Raggedy Ann/Andy and upon my death I was considering donating everything to the Arcola Museum…..I don’t want it anywhere else!!!!! This is very sad news. Can you give me any details as to why the festival will not be held and why the museum is closing???? Just wondering…..At least I have all the wonderful memories of the festivals….I would get chill bumps walking around and seeing all the original Raggedy Ann/Andy dolls and items….This is a sad day in America!!! Yes, my Raggedy Ann 68 year old heart is broken!!!!!!! I will always will be a Raggedy Ann fan.

  9. sally hines says:

    I am so sorry about the closing of the museum. i only saw it once and was planning to come this year. my heart sank when i read about the closing. I have over 300 raggedys and will love them always. sally

  10. I am so sorry the museum is lost to us. Rochester, New York is not a typical travel destination for people here in the central time zone. It’s a shame that no museum in Illinois Indiana or Missouri grabbed this treasurer. Indianapolis has a great children’s museum with an incredible toy display. Seems to me like they would have been a logical place for the museum to go if Joni coould not longer run it… So, so sad. I work in the travel industry and it was always a suggested place to stop for our visitors traveling north, I was shocked to find it closed… So so sad, I feel like I lost a friend… a place I could take to remember my best childhood friend and secret keeper…

  11. Helen McKenna says:

    I have a question. Does anyone know the name of the pony to Raggedy Ann and Andy? I see it on figuriens and plates. Sometines in a patchwork outfit. I would be appreciative if someone can tell me the name of the pony. Thanks you a Raggedy Ann and Andy fan forever