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Ava Gardner Museum

325 E Market St, Smithfield, NC 27577-3919
+1 919-934-5830
Review Highlights
A little bit of Hollywood on Tobacco Road

This museum tucked away in Downtown Smithfield offers a treasure trove of memorabilia from the... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
Cary, North Carolina
Ava and Hemingway a good surprise

I loved visited Ava Gardner Museum and discovered that her was the actress in the movie of... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Porto Alegre, RS
via mobile
Read all 139 reviews
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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.
  • Excellent69%
  • Very good27%
  • Average3%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“minute film” (12 reviews)
“movie posters” (6 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
325 E Market St, Smithfield, NC 27577-3919
+1 919-934-5830
Write a ReviewReviews (139)
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1 - 10 of 139 reviews

Reviewed 6 days ago

This museum tucked away in Downtown Smithfield offers a treasure trove of memorabilia from the Hollywood legend and Johnston County native's life and career. There's costumes, personal items as well as exhibits featuring the men in Ava's life including Howard Hughes and Frank Sinatra.

Thank johnmarkivey
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I loved visited Ava Gardner Museum and discovered that her was the actress in the movie of Hemingway books! I love Hemingway! The Museum is very interesting and is possible watching a documentary about life and career of Ava Gardner! Near the Museum has a...More

Thank Silvane_Romero
Ava_Gardner_Museum, Director at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

We are so happy you enjoyed your visit! We will be adding a new exhibit in May, so please come visit us again!

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The museum is small but well laid out with several rooms and display cases. The hostess definitely knew the story of Ava Gardner and was most helpful. There is also a video program that makes her history clear. The displays of various facets of her...More

Thank gojusensei
Ava_Gardner_Museum, Manager at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you for the wonderful review, we are so glad you enjoyed your visit! I will be sure to let our docent know that you mentioned her, we are very lucky to have such long-term and knowledgeable docents! We change our exhibits each year, so...More

Reviewed 26 December 2017

Smithfield NC's Ava Gardner Museum is a good way to jump off I-95 and stretch your legs. Inside this museum the visitor can watch a video about the actress's life in addition to costumes that she wore in some of her movies. While this may...More

Thank Madeline103119148
Ava_Gardner_Museum, Manager at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you for your review, we appreciate it! We do understand that our museum caters more towards adults, but we do have a little "scavenger hunt" list that we encourage the children who can read to participate in. We hope to see you again! ~Lynell~

Reviewed 3 November 2017

While driving down I-95 in North Carolina, we saw a sign saying AVA GARDNER MUSEUM. Curiosity got the best of us so we decided to investigate. This small but intriguing museum is located in Smithville, NC., across from City Hall and adjacent to the town...More

2  Thank kathy321nj
VisitSmithfieldNC, Ava Gardner Museum Board Member at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 6 November 2017

Thank you for taking time to explore our "hidden gem" in Smithfield, NC -- many of us on the board have spent years curating Ava's story into what you experienced. We change out exhibits once a year and hold special events if you are ever...More

Reviewed 17 September 2017

The museum covers all aspects of Ava's life. The introductory video is a "must see." The docent is well versed in her knowledge of Ava Gardner and her birthplace. The photos, paintings, and memorabilia; cover her entire lifespan. It was well worth my detour off...More

1  Thank Ron G
VisitSmithfieldNC, President/Johnston County Visitors Bureau at Ava Gardner Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Thank you for your kind words -- we work hard to preserve Ava's legacy and showcase the collection in the best ways afforded the museum. Our next event will be October 21-22 showing vintage Ava and Frank movies if you are in the area. Take...More

Reviewed 31 August 2017

For people of our generation, the pre-boomer types, a visit to Ava's museum is a treat. It brought back memories of the many movies she starred in with all the leading male actors of her generation. Why she couldn't find marital happiness in her marriages,...More

1  Thank Stephen F
Reviewed 12 August 2017

We stopped in Smithfield to break up a drive from DC Metro to Hilton. The area was just shy of half way but the option to visit this museum put this town at the top of the list for stopovers. We were not disappointed. It's...More

1  Thank dc_fish
Reviewed 23 July 2017

We had a friend in town and took him by to see this. Its a very nice little museum, nice movie about Ava. Warning. Be careful about parking on the street if you have a full size truck, a lot of mirrors get taken off....More

1  Thank firebear1961
Reviewed 3 July 2017

Went with my mom and sisters once, and again with my hubby. His grandmother has old letters from Ava as well as an invitation to her funeral. I learned a lot about what films she was in and she had high city taste, for sure!

1  Thank pirategirl122017
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Questions & Answers
Saliha B
31 August 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from AmarilisVos | Reviewed this property |
There is discount for military, seniors, teens and children
Jeanette M
26 June 2017|
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Response from AllenVirginiaBeach | Reviewed this property |
Open Monday - Saturday 9am - 5pm Sunday 2pm - 5pm All you had to do was type in Ava Gardner museum and it gives you the times, just like I did for you. Glad I could do your leg work for you!