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“Enjoyable Museum”
Review of Ava Gardner Museum

Ava Gardner Museum
Ranked #2 of 13 things to do in Smithfield
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Central Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
34 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Enjoyable Museum”
Reviewed December 16, 2012

If you're a fan of Ava Gardner, or if you are a fan of "rags to riches" stories, this is an enjoyable museum. You'll begin with a very informative 20 minute film giving an overview of Ava's life. Then you'll tour the museum at your own pace. We took a family member who was in a wheelchair, with no problems at all. (We drove around back and parked on the side of the museum - there was open spacing in the fence alongside the museum where we could push the wheelchair through.) The docent was very friendly and knowledgeable. The museum is a nice tribute to a beautiful movie star.

Visited December 2012
Thank dixiedreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
273 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Go back in time”
Reviewed November 15, 2012 via mobile

Absolutely delightful museum of memorabilia from Ava Gardner's private & public life. The admission's woman was friendly & well informed on her subject. The 15 min movie was well done & documented much of her life. Exhibits were interesting as was the library. She was well loved by this town & it shows.

2 Thank Cyndi D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill, NC
Level Contributor
158 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“Well done. But unless a fan, more of a curiosity”
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.

Visited November 2011
Thank jahausa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Ava Gardner Museum is a must see!”
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.

Visited August 2012
Thank Rochelle V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Worth the stop, but not with small children.”
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??

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

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