Ava Gardner Museum

325 E Market St., Smithfield

$6 for Admission for Two to the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield (Up to $12 Value)

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  • One-of-a-kind collection of Gardner memorabilia
  • Costumes & personal items
  • 5,000 square feet of exhibits

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14 ratings12 reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
September 14, 2016
A small museum packed with interesting facts and artifacts from the actresses life and the people surrounding it.
10 ratings5 reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
July 17, 2016
Really interesting and well worth the time. Be sure to start with the quick movie, which gives you a great overview of her life. It helps put the rest of the exhibits in context. Museum is well organized and has a significant collection. Staff was friendly and helpful. Her gravesite is just a few miles away and also worth a stop.
1 ratings1 reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
April 13, 2016
Fascinating look into Ava's life. Parking was not a problem when we went. The diner across the street has excellent food.
2 ratings2 reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
February 12, 2016
Very enjoyable museum but couldn't find a nice place for lunch. An employee's bbq recommendation was horrendous.
7 ratings5 reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
February 9, 2016
It was a lovely day with the "girls". Lunch and the museam.
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About This Deal

In old Hollywood, movie stars were treated like royalty, a mistake that led to mass political confusion and a profusion of knighted cameramen. Immerse yourself in cinema's heyday with today’s Groupon: for $6, you get admission for two people (up to a $12 value) to the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield.

The Ava Gardner Museum allows visitors to inspect memorabilia and absorb the personal details of one of the silver screen’s most enduring figures. Amble through more than of 5,000 square feet of exhibit space on a self-guided voyage of discovery. Artifacts unearthed by Tinseltown archaeologists include costumes and movie posters, plus the actress’s own china, clothing, and other personal possessions. Some materials, such as a watch she presented to Frank Sinatra, shed light on Gardner’s relationships with her three husbands, and others—including those in the soon-to-close exhibit _Hemingway and Ava_—examine her most significant and well-known friendships. A collection of 40 portraits by artist Bert Pfeiffer confirms the theory, long debated by scientists, that Gardner’s image can cure hiccups and stop cats in their tracks.

Round out your Ava understanding by visiting the exhibit about "The Most Photographed Woman in the World," who was born in Grabtown in 1922. A one-of-a-kind resource for the actress’s fans and for those enchanted by the glamour and 50-foot-tall, leather-winged directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, the Ava Gardner Museum offers guests a well-rounded view of a woman who possessed one of the world’s most visible faces. The museum is open seven days a week, including most holidays, making it accessible to even the busiest cinephiles, movie buffs, and Gardner groupies.


Although there aren't many reviews for the Ava Gardner Museum, Immortal Ephemera featured it and it has more than 1,100 Facebook fans. Three TripAdvisors also give it an average of 4.5 owl eyes.

  • The collection is displayed in an engaging way without being overwhelming, and is well worth a visit. – rockyhillgal, TripAdvisor

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About 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.