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Ava Gardner Museum

Address: 325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone Number: 1-919-934-5830
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94%
Ranked #1 of 10 Attractions in Smithfield
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Owner description: The Ava Gardner Museum, one of North Carolina’s most remarkable attractions, honors the life...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: History Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Hours:
Sun 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mon - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Owner description: The Ava Gardner Museum, one of North Carolina’s most remarkable attractions, honors the life, loves, and legacy of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies. It’s here that you will see personal interviews and get the real story from those that knew her best.Discover the real Ava Gardner as you take the self-guided tour through more than 5,000 square-feet of exhibit space. You’ll see extraordinary costumes, movie posters and awards that represent Ava’s 50-year career as a leading Hollywood actress. The Museum also houses a collection of personal items of china, jewelry, clothing and fine art, including 40 portraits by Bert Pfeiffer, an artist whose collection was donated to the museum in 2001. The tour also includes a screening of a short biography of Ava that features information about her life in Johnston County and commentary by those who knew her best, including family members, childhood friends, co-stars, and even one of her husbands, Mickey Rooney.Get to know the people who played important roles in Ava’s life. Her circle of close friends included celebrities such as Gregory Peck, Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway and Howard Hughes. You’ll also learn about her marriages, which were even bigger news than her films. View artifacts that belonged to her third and final husband, Frank Sinatra, whom she considered the love of her life.

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73 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
jshuclan
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2015

Really enjoyed going in and watching the film as well as touring the exhibits. There was a nice collection of memorabilia and clothing but having been once I don't know that I would necessarily pay to go back again. A neat side trip though and would make a good field trip for my homeschoolers.

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Port Saint Lucie, Fl USA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2014

there is a lot to learn about this great actress. Ava Gardner was a great actress and by stopping at the museum ther is a lot to learn

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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2014

Small museum dedicated to their local celebrity. Beautifully laid out with many treasures from throughout her life, especially her Hollywood career. Particularly enjoyed the video introduction and the costumes from her movies. Staff are friendly and welcoming. A recommended stop which is easily accessible from Highway 95.

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Smithfield, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
4 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014

I already knew what Johnston County's sweetheart Ava Gardner looked like, and don't have much interest in old photos and personal belongings. If you are into that stuff, then check it out by all means.

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Reykjavik, Iceland
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
32 attraction reviews
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2014

The Ava Gardner Museum was a wonderful surprise! Though small in size, this museum is well organized and the artifacts are thoughtfully exhibited, resulting in a lovely tribute to Ava Gardner, the small-town girl that made it to Hollywood and beyond. The film about her life is not to be missed. Well worth the visit!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Princeton, New Jersey
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2014

This is a small museum located in the downtown area of Smithfield. Museum tells the life story and career of Ava Gardener. Many exhibits and artifacts from her life. Many outfits from movies she appeared in. Well worth the visit.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
31 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

Decided to make a day trip to check out this museum. Very nicely done tribute to Ava. Some costumes and other memorabilia, lots of photos and info about her life. The docent was very helpful and knowledgeable. It doesn't take long to go through about an hour or so. Gift/souvenir shop had some nice offerings too.A pleasant stop on our... More 

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
951 reviews 951 reviews
460 attraction reviews
276 helpful votes 276 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2014

I truly enjoyed this little museum. The people are friendly, the exhibits are wonderfully done, and I learned a lot about this famous actress of days gone by! Well worth a stop!

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Smithfield, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
13 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2014

The Ava Gardner Museum offers its visitors an experience that you would only expect to find in a city fifty times the size of Smithfield. The museum's collection is professionally displayed, and visitors learn about Ava's career and her entire life, from her humble beginnings in small town North Carolina, to her discovery, life in California, Spain, and England. The... More 

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Jacksonville, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014

During our trips from Florida to Maine, we had seen signs on Interstate 95 for the Ava Gardner Museum many times, but had never stopped in. During our last trip, we did stop, intending to spend no more than 15 minutes viewing whatever the museum had to offer. We ended up spending over 2 hours! We were bowled over by... More 

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