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“Well done. But unless a fan, more of a curiosity”
Review of Ava Gardner Museum

Ava Gardner Museum
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Smithfield
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

This is a very well put-together museum run by people who truly care about the lady. But as non-fans, the place fails to 'resonate.' That being said, passion is palpable, and if in the area, this is worth a stop. Just don't plan a day around it - unless you're an Ava Gardner fan. In that case, I have to imagine this place would be a pseudo-Mecca.

Thank jahausa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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112 - 116 of 134 reviews

Reviewed October 23, 2012

My friend and I had a reunion and met at the muesum as it was off of 95. We enjoyed watching the 15 minute movie before touring the museum. It was at your own pace, so we spent a couple hours reading the plaques and looking at all the items. The muesum is a wonderful tribute to Ava's amazing life. We purchased a couple movies and a book. The lady who was working was very friendly and enjoyed talking about Ava with us. She even took our reunion picture of my friend and I. The location is perfect. Afterwards, my friend and I went out to lunch and did a little shopping. We cannot wait to meet up again in Smithfield and see the Gregory Peck display.

Thank Rochelle V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

After a day of outlet shopping pop over to the Ava Gardner museum, very easy to locate.
Little kids would be a tad bored as you need stand still time to appreciate all that is housed here.
Plan an hour, as reading handwritten personal notes from co-stars and learning about this ordinary young woman who fell into the limelight, an hour will fly by quite quickly.
My only regret, is not buying a small jar of moonshine jelly in the gift shop, anyone game to try it??

Thank LB52012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

It's worthwhile a side trip to Smithfield and not to be missed if you are a filmfan. Your visit starts with a 15 minute film about Ava's life, followed by a selfguided tour of the museum. We ended our Gardner experience at the graveyard, where you'll find her grave. Ask the address inside the museum.

2  Thank reyntens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2012

If you are driving on I-95 and are a movie fan, make time to stop at the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield , NC. In mint condition, it houses memorabilia including dresses (perfectly preserved), jewelry and art. Our visit started with a 15 minute film detailing Ava's life and career. The self guided tour clearly depicts everything relating to the actress. All exhibits have been lovingly and professionally prepared. We were very well received by a docent who was very friendly and knowledgeable.

The Museum is easy to find and has street parking. We enjoyed our visit very much.

2  Thank Worryfree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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