We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ava Gardner Museum

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone Number: 1-919-934-5830
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mon - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Description: The Ava Gardner Museum, one of North Carolina’s most remarkable...
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.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 79 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 56
  • 19
    Very good
  • 3
  • 1
  • 0
"The World's Most Beautiful Animal"

The Ava Gardner Museum is as sparkling a jewel and as tailored a collection as the wardrobe of the remarkable woman and Hollywood legend it honours. Smithfield, NC off I-95 has... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 9, 2015
Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
Add Photo Write a Review

79 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
15 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015

The Ava Gardner Museum is as sparkling a jewel and as tailored a collection as the wardrobe of the remarkable woman and Hollywood legend it honours. Smithfield, NC off I-95 has created a generous and sophisticated homage to the actress that starts and ends with the warmth of its staff, and includes an 18-minute introductory film (a must see), stunning... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Hellertown, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015

This one is a must for Hollywood aficionados! Incredibly tastefully presented, and with a must - see introductory documentary on Ava's life. If you care about fashion, you will marvel at beautiful classic stuff made by Gucci, Dior, Ferragamo and others that genuinely belonged to her. Very enthusiastic lady at the reception desk and good stuff to buy at the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
New Brunswick, New Jersey
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2015

I was here for a war reinactment but stopped into the museum and enjoyed the little time I spent there. I am a history fanatic.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Haverford, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
663 reviews 663 reviews
82 attraction reviews
432 helpful votes 432 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2015

I guess I was expecting a small kitschy museum dedicated to Ava Gardner when I pulled off I95. So I was surprised to find a rather substantial building on the Main Street in little Smithfield. I was the only person in the museum on this morning and the elegant, very southern docent gave me a warm welcome. I started with... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
50 attraction reviews
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2015

I was highly impressed with my visit to The Ava Gardner Museum. It is located in downtown Smithfield, NC. There is street parking as well as a large public parking lot in the back. When you enter the museum, you are warmly greeted and then told a little about Ava Gardner before watching an 18 minute film to give you... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Greensboro, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2015

The overall experience of the museum and the townis a great experience. There was nothing we did not like.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Port Saint Lucie, Fl USA
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

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
21 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Smithfield, North Carolina
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
4 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Ava Gardner Museum also viewed


Been to Ava Gardner Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Ava Gardner Museum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?