$7 for Visit for Two to Ava Gardner Museum ($14 Value)

Smithfield

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In a Nutshell

Museum with more than 20,000 artifacts from the actress's career and personal life

The Fine Print

Expires 90 days after purchase. Limit 1 per person, may buy 3 additional as gifts. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Actors often draw emotions from real-life experiences, whether it's grief from the death of a childhood pet or joy from watching two dogs kiss. Admire a master's range with this Groupon.

$7 for Admission for Two ($14 Value)

Along with more than 20,000 artifacts from the actress's career and personal life, the museum houses special exhibits focusing on her fashion and homes. Memorabilia in the temporary shows include an orange silk dress from Howard Hughes and the brass lions that greeted visitors at one of her Spanish homes.

Ava Gardner Museum

Ava Gardner was studying to be a secretary at the Atlantic Christian College when 12-year-old Thomas Banks met her while playing at the school's campus in 1940. A year later, the young boy learned his friend had signed a movie contract with MGM to become a movie star. From then on, he collected newspaper clippings and memorabilia tracing her film career, from her breakout role in 1946's The Killers to her lauded work in 1953's Mogambo with Clark Gable. Tom and Ava remained friends over the years, and, at her request, he unveiled his collection—more than 50 years in the making—in 1979 in Smithfield, her birthplace and eventual resting place.

Tom amassed more than 20,000 artifacts from Ava's career and private life, which now, among other pieces, fill the 6,400-square-foot Ava Gardner Museum. Among movie posters and awards stand the silk satin cape that Ava wore in publicity shots for The Barefoot Contessa and the black dress she donned in The Great Sinner. Her personal items include china, jewelry, 40 portraits of her by Bert Pfeiffer, and the engraved watch she gave to her third husband, Frank Sinatra. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum celebrates the starlet with its annual Ava Gardner Festival, which includes screenings of her classic films and heritage tours.


Reviews

First-rate orientation film, very well-done exhibit with plenty to see, and an interesting story about one of Hollywood's true and natural beauties

GboNC, TripAdvisor, 6/24/12

Every display is very professionally put together and a loving tribute to Ava. It is a mixture of her personal life and her movie career.

Melissa G, TripAdvisor, 4/24/12

Tips

  • “This place was wonderful! This is a great place to remember and honor Ava.”

  • “Lovely set up and very interesting. Pleasant experience.”

  1. A

    Smithfield

    325 E Market St.

    Smithfield, North Carolina 27577

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Experiences that expand cultural awareness, such as museums, tours, and literature
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