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Ava Gardner Museum

325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
1-919-934-5830
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Ranked #1 of 9 attractions in Smithfield
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Specialty Museums
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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... more » 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. « less
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56 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Herlong, CA
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 NEW

Start with a short film about Ava Gardner and then get glimpses of her life from the displays. The museum is small, but done well. Many things I did not know about this beautiful actress and her untimely death. I noticed that the younger people seemed more intrigued than some of the older visitors. The museum is supported mostly with... More

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Havelock, North Carolina
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
38 attraction reviews
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

My husband and I were on a day trip and happened to drive through Smithfield, NC where we drove by the Ava Gardner Museum. Even though she was before our time, we had seen her in a few old movies and decided to tour the museum. What a wonderful surprise in this small town. After paying our admission ($8 for... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
22 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014

This was such a wonderful museum to visit. When you enter you are ushered into a room to watch a movie about her and the staff member tells you more about her and some of the artwork that is currently in the room. The video last about 15 min, if you have small children it could be hard for them... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
252 reviews 252 reviews
86 attraction reviews
214 helpful votes 214 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2014

The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina, was an unexpected and happy surprise. We spent about two hours there going through an excellent survey of Ava Gardner's life. When we left, we had an very good idea about this unusual actress who came from a poor rural area nearby, rose to stardom in Hollywood, and lived much of her... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Selma, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
23 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2014

We had a great time visiting the Ava Gardener Museum. I would not have expected such a quality museum in such a small town. It is certainly worth your time and the admission fee.

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Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
11 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014

A very nice Town to visit. There are local eateries. The Ava Gardner Museum. A lovely Parks just Pass the bridge heading into the Heart of the Town, the one on the left is next to the River, the one on the right us where the Local Festivals are held. Bronze Memorials dedicated to the Civil War

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Smithfield, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

The town of Smithfield has done a beautiful job of paying tribute to a home town girl. You're met with a warm hostess that is knowledgeable, beautiful exhibits and a short, but informative video.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Indian Head, Maryland
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

I have traveled up and down Interstate 95 for years. I have always wanted to stop and never did. My last trip, my husband and I decided to take the time and do it. We both really enjoyed it. I was really expecting it to be a little cheesy, but was impressed with the exhibits. It was a great stop... More

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Orlando, FL
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

If you are on of the snowbirds who travel between the north in the summer and Florida in the winter, The Ava Gardner Museum is a perfect lunch stop on Smithfield NC, right off I-95. She grew up as farmer's daughter in this small town and her beauty caused her to be propelled to the top of Hollywood's glamourous lives.... More

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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

I had passed the signs for this museum for years and finally stopped last summer. Remarkable place that gives you appreciation for not only Ava Gardner, but the era of that genre of "larger than life" movie stars. Highly recommended. You can spend an hour, or even two at this museum if you get caught up in the exhibits. One... More

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