AVA Gardner

One of North Carolina’s most remarkable attractions, honors the life, loves,
and legacy of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies.

“Hemingway’s Heroine” Exhibit...

Showcasing Ava’s close friendship with Ernest Hemingway. This exhibit will feature, for the first time, a movie costume reproduction.  Danielle Lynch, a fashion designer from Raleigh who has been inspired by Ava’s fashions, has recreated the iconic black satin, single-shoulder strapped dress Ava wore in The Killers.

Hemingway Exhibit

The Killers, in 2008, was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  The Killers, a 1946 film, is an intense, hard-edged, stylish film noir of robbery, unrequited love, brutal betrayal, and double-cross.  MGM loaned Ava to Universal Studios to play femme fatale Kitty Collins with newcomer Burt Lancaster, and critics and movie audiences alike took notice of Ava's performance. Her success in The Killers led to two more roles as Hemingway heroines, including Cynthia Street in The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises.   Ava would meet Hemingway through famed bullfighter, Luis Miguel Dominguin, and they remained close friends for the next decade.  Ava called him Papa, he called her Daughter, and after starring in her second adaptation from one of Hemingway’s works, he would remark, “Ava, the only two good things in it (Snows of Kilimanjaro) were you and the hyena”. 

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.

Ava and Frank Sinatra Exhibit


Tom Banks The man behind it all is Thomas M. Banks of Pompano Beach, Florida, a former publicist for Columbia Pictures, who collected Ava memorabilia for over 50 years.


More than 15 years after our most recent remodel, we are seeking an upgrade to our fire suppression system which will assist in guarding the collection for fans of Ava and Hollywood in the event of a catastrophe. This project is estimated to cost $100,000. We are asking Ava's fans and fellow history buffs to help us preserve a unique piece of cinematic history and an iconic treasure of Hollywood as well as North Carolina. The official page of the Ava Gardner Museum and Estate can be accessed below:

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