Ava Gardner Museum


Come to downtown Smithfield and 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.

Admission Prices

Adults ages 18-64 $10.00
Seniors 65 & up $9.00
Military Active Duty $9.00
Teens 13-17 $9.00
Children 6-12 $6.00
Children Under 6 FREE
A special group rate for 10 people or more is offered for $9.00/person.

Heritage Tours can be booked for an additional charge, for groups of 10+ people, $12.00/person.
Subject to availability. Please call our museum for details.
All admission goes directly to support the museum as a  501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.

Museum Hours

Monday – Friday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday:  9 am – 5 pm
Sunday:  2 pm – 5 pm
Closed Dec 24-25, Easter Sunday, and Thanksgiving.

Group Tours

The Ava Gardner Museum invites your group to visit the museum today!  From civic clubs to church groups, bus tours to family reunions, we love hosting groups of all sizes. Your group’s visit begins with a tour of the Ava Gardner Museum. Admission tickets include a 15-minute biography shown in the Museum’s theatre and more than 5,000 sq. ft of exhibit space. Current exhibits include a unique selection of Ava’s costumes, rare movie posters, awards, Ava’s personal items, photographs, and fine artwork. For group tours, admission is $9 per person and each group will receive one free admission for guide and/or driver per each 10 paid admissions. Looking for a more unique experience?  The Museum also offers a package for groups:


The Heritage Tour package is for 10 people or more and includes admission to the Ava Gardner Museum and a heritage tour of points of interest in Ava’s hometown. After touring the Museum, your group will return to the group’s van, shuttle, or bus with one of our knowledgeable guides. Visitors will be shown the important places in Ava's life, including Ava's birthplace, the Teacherage where she grew up, and her gravesite in Sunset Memorial Park. The entire cost of this package is $12.00 per person

To reserve this Ava package, contact the museum at 919-934-5830. Bus parking is available and convenient.

Special Exhibits

Our main program is the self-guided museum tour that we give every day, but we also have other programs, activities, and special events from time to time. Please join our email subscription list, to make sure you always know what’s happening at the Museum.

Ava's Closet

At the 2014 Ava Gardner Festival, the Museum unveiled its newest exhibit in the Museum’s largest showcase, Ava's Closet. Whether her personal wardrobe or the fashion of the movies, visitors to the museum are fascinate by the size of her waist.  One of the most frequent questions or comments are about her waist size of The Great Sinner dress she wore at age 27.  The museum curatorial staff measured the waist at 19". For the first time ever, the orange silk dress that was a gift from Howard Hughes has been fitted to a mannequin and displayed for visitors to enjoy.  This dress was made by renowned Hollywood costume designer, Howard Greer, who started his career with Paramount and went independent in 1927.  Greer designed for Hollywood stars such as Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Rita Hayworth, personally and professionally until 1962. Dubbed the “Designer to the Stars,” Greer was one of Hollywood’s earliest celebrity designers.

Ava's Homes

One of the latest exhibits features photographs and accessories from Ava's homes in California, New York, Spain, and England. One of her favorite homes was La Bruja (Spanish for "witch") in the Madrid suburb of La Moraleja, where she moved in December 1955. According to her autobiography, Ava, My Story, the house had a witch, "complete with broomstick...doing duty as the weathervane," hence the name. Since the house was unfurnished, she and housekeeper Reenie Jordan scoured Madrid for furniture and accessories. "I filled La Bruja with books and records and, for the first time since I'd left North Carolina, I felt I was home."The museum recently acquired two brass lions which reportedly greeted visitors at the gateway to one of Ava's two Spanish homes. A number of items from her plush London apartment, where she lived 1968-1990, are also on display.


Gregory and Ava Exhibit - "Great Old Pals"

The 8th Annual Ava Gardner Festival commemorated Gardner and Peck’s life-long friendship with new exhibits, heritage tours, and vintage movies. Gardner and Peck starred together in the The Great Sinner, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and On the Beach.

Peck once said, “It’s very hard to dominate Ava because of her essential strength of character, her honesty and this almost unreal beauty.” Their friendship lasted the entirety of their careers and upon her death he called Ava “outspoken”, “refreshing” and a “fine actress.”  In Ava's biography, Peck referred to Ava as his "great old pal."  Peck visited the museum at the old location on 3rd Street when on location in Raleigh for a film project.

Museum Rental

The Ava Gardner Museum is available for events and you may download our RENTAL AGREEMENT HERE.