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Ava Gardner Museum

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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
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mon - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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 107 reviews
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  • 72
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  • 30
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delightful surprise

it is a very nice museum and done with love for the subject. l felt like they presented a lot of information about ava. there was a short documentary film. lots of photos and... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 5 days ago
purplerosemary
,
Niles, Ohio
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107 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 107: English reviews
Niles, Ohio
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

it is a very nice museum and done with love for the subject. l felt like they presented a lot of information about ava. there was a short documentary film. lots of photos and posters from her career; as well as sharing her early life. it was a very nice tribute to the actress and the woman. the people working... More 

Helpful?
Thank purplerosemary
Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
48 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Didn't know what to expect when we stopped--another cheesy museum about a local hero--NOT at all--what a great and informative tribute to a Gal who traveled the world in luxury and sophistication--but returned back home to rest for eternity. The staff is over the top, and so informative and helpful, the museum is in excellent condition--and the subject--very interesting--I am... More 

Helpful?
Thank FleetPride1
VisitSmithfieldNC, Ava Gardner Museum Board Member at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this review

Thank you very much for the kind words about the Ava Gardner Museum, our mission as board members is to educate the public about the life and career of Ava Gardner. But as you may have noted, the museum is so much more for visitors and for the board. If you have the chance, the museum changes out exhibits once... More 

Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Level Contributor
39 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Let me say right up front it is highly unlikely I would have ever visited here had my traveling companion not asked if we could stop in...I was not aware Ava Gardner was a native North Carolinian. And while I knew she was another of a number of beautiful actresses from the mid 20th century era, I was unaware of... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ed L
Level Contributor
48 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2016 via mobile

So much info on Ava, they start you out with a small documentary film, then you can see things from childhood, movies and personal stuff. Really enjoyed the museum The admissions price is very reasonable...

Helpful?
Thank Sharon S
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
168 reviews
124 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2016

It was a day trip with friends. I really knew nothing about Ava but after seeing the film they had and going through the wonderful exhibits...I really do know more about this actress and her life even outside of the movies she made. It is certainly worth a visit even if you don't know anything about her. Support this local... More 

Helpful?
Thank Linda B
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2016 via mobile

I had such a great time visiting the Ava Museum! I knew nothing about her, needless to say they have a video around 15 minute bio that will give you a lot of info on her. Truly enjoy learning about a well grounded woman. If your in the area it's a must see place to visit.

Helpful?
Thank Terica M
Texas
Level Contributor
41 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2016 via mobile

We accidentally stumbled onto this gem of a museum. We went and enjoyed every minute. It was a first class operation and full of a treasure trove of Hollywood memorabilia. This is off the beaten track but worth the effort. Also, try Cricket's Grill while there, across the street and a few blocks down, great!

Helpful?
Thank jmaynard
VisitSmithfieldNC, President/CEO, Johnston County Visitors Bureau at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this review

Thank you -- we think the Ava Gardner Museum is a gem too for tourism in Smithfield! More 

Momalita
Level Contributor
101 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2016

I became interested in Ava Gardner years ago, after attending a screening of the "Barefoot Contessa" at an independent movie theater. A bunch of women friends were planning an outing, and I suggested this museum. The Ava Gardner museum is located in Downtown Smithfield, about 45 minutes from Raleigh, and about ten minutes from the Outlet mall. There are BOGO... More 

Helpful?
Thank Momalita
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2016 via mobile

Great day trip. 18 minute video to watch. Really enjoyed seeing the museum. If you are so in Smithfield this is a must see!

Helpful?
Thank Tina J
Sonoma, California
Level Contributor
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2016

Four of us decided to take a drive to Smithfield and expected a hokey drop in like so many little museums across the U.S. Not so!! This is a delightful, well planned, well laid out, and excellently run homage to a beautiful and talented woman. We were impressed and stayed much longer than we had anticipated - a lot to... More 

Helpful?
Thank NancieL

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