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Ava Gardner Museum

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Address: 325 E Market St, Smithfield, NC 27577-3919
Phone Number:
+1 919-934-5830
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 14:00 - 17:00
Mon - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

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 119 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 79
  • 35
    Very good
  • 4
  • 1
  • 0
Quality museum with a mix of Ava's personal items, clothing, and costumes

The Ava Gardner Museum is an incredibly well done museum that fans of Ava, Old Hollywood, fashion, and history will enjoy! The museum's exhibits rotate, but all that I have seen... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
Sarah E
Smithfield, North Carolina
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119 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 119: English reviews
Smithfield, North Carolina
Level Contributor
55 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The Ava Gardner Museum is an incredibly well done museum that fans of Ava, Old Hollywood, fashion, and history will enjoy! The museum's exhibits rotate, but all that I have seen have been very interesting! Some of my favorite items on display are Ava's jewelry, a sophisticated pink dress with jewels, and the black dress that she wore in The... More 

Thank Sarah E
Kernersville NC
Level Contributor
52 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You will enjoy learning about Ava Gardner's early life and her movie star career beginning with a short video. The exhibits are professionally created and include her clothing, pictures, film posters, and so much information! This is truly a gem in a charming southern town.

Thank ccanders
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We've also passed this dozens of times. So glad we finally stopped! Ava Gardner memorabilia like crazy. We loved the little biography film and all the wonderful movie posters/pictures. If you love old Hollywood, this is a must stop!

Thank Beachgrammy53
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2017

On a whim my husband and I decided to stop and visit. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and look forward to returning.

Thank Elizabeth R
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2017

The Ava Gardner Museum is a must for folks who like Hollywood, there is a film about her life and her marriages, clothes, jewellery, personal objects, photos, a small gift shop. My husband isn't a fan of museums, but he enjoyed it and we went and found her grave afterwards in Smithfield Cemetery to finish off the nostalgic story.

Thank Jan F
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
328 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2016

This museum isn't anything that will take you very long to walk through but it is interesting. Especially, if you are an Ava Gardner fan.

Thank dpoin21
Level Contributor
89 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 November 2016

Well presented museum, enjoyed how it is set up. Learned a lot about this Hollywood legend. Also visited nearby grave site which added some interest to the visit.

Thank Zingland
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
72 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2016 via mobile

After driving to and from Boston to Florida for 20+ years and saying we should stop...,we finally did. Surprisingly nice museum The Staff/docents were wonderful and spent time with us giving so much information on all the exhibits. We will be back again

Thank Rod K
VisitSmithfieldNC, Ava Gardner Museum Board Member at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this review

Thank you so very much for stopping -- the museum is primarily supported by admissions and gift shop sales! Please stop again! More 

Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2016

I loved Ava when I was a teenager, she was beautiful, sophisticated, and a wonderful movie star. The museum captured her life from beginning to her end, a wonderful experience.

Thank filmare
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 August 2016

Not having watched Ava Gardner movies this museum tells all and is very informative. The film they show before you walk through the museum helped understand the beautiful movie star. Amazing town that loved Ava

Thank Larry B

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