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Ava Gardner Museum

Certificate of Excellence
History museums, Specialty museums, Museums
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Address: 325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone Number: 1-919-934-5830
Website
Today
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open now
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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.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 75 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 52
    Excellent
  • 19
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Most recent review
Wonderful

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... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed February 7, 2015
NCTraveler2015
,
Raleigh, North Carolina
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75 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
34 attraction reviews
63 helpful votes 63 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
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.

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jshuclan
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 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
45 reviews 45 reviews
21 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 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
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
4 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 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
64 reviews 64 reviews
36 attraction reviews
92 helpful votes 92 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 2
Princeton, New Jersey
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 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 2
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
31 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 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 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
1,003 reviews 1,003 reviews
496 attraction reviews
290 helpful votes 290 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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