North Carolina > Smithfield > Ava Gardner Museum

Ava Gardner Museum

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(919) 934-5830
325 E Market St
Smithfield, NC 27577
Category: Travel & Lodging:Tourists' Attractions


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.

Products And Services

Our main program is the self-guided museum tour that we give every day, but we also have other programs, activities, and special events from time to time. Please join our email subscription list, to make sure you always know what’s happening at the Museum.

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Reviews and Ratings for Ava Gardner Museum

Average Rating
"Big surprise for a small museum"
by Jennifer Lee

October 28, 2010

"I've seen the billboards for the Ava Gardner Museum on I-95 for years and finally planned a stop this year in my travels. I didn't really know much about her before I went but I know a lot more now! She was truly a beautiful woman and had such an interesting life. I guess I didn't expect much because Smithfield is a pretty small town, but the Museum is much bigger than I expected, they had a lot more items that I thought they would, and it was all presented in a really attractive way. You first watch a short film on her life, which I thought was really well done. And then I went through the Museum on my own. They had the family Bible and her high school diploma, a dress Howard Hughes gave her and a watch she gave Frank Sinatra. Lots of awards, film costumes, and personal stuff of hers like china and jewelry. In the very back were these paintings a guy did of her once a year for 50 years and there are photo albums on the table that you can look through. I stayed for about an hour but I probably could have stayed even longer. I was really impressed with this museum and they say they change the exhibits regularly so I'll have to come back again"

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