The glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Era and the undeniable beauty of Ava Gardner will captivate you the moment you walk into the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina.
It’s hard to believe that the dazzling Ava, whom many consider to be one of the most beautiful Hollywood starlets ever to appear on film was once just a simple barefoot farm girl from a teeny tiny town in the south.
She said herself, “Although no one believes me, I have always been a country girl and still have a country girl’s values.”
She never went looking for stardom; it found her. Ava’s photo was seen in the window of her brother-in-law’s photography studio, and whoosh, she was off to Hollywood for a screen test in which her beauty was so overpowering, the studio overlooked the fact her southern accent was barely understandable.
I didn’t know anything about Ava Gardner before I visited the museum as a guest of Johnston County, but I found her fascinating, and I’ll bet you will too. If you can, I recommend starting your visit with the 17-minute overview film. It ties together much of what you’ll see on display, and gives you a big picture understanding of this remarkable actress.
The memorabilia, which is rotated from time to time, takes you through Ava’s childhood, movie career and several tumultous romances and marriages.
I hope you take the opportunity to visit the museum if you’re in Johnston County. For more information on admission, hours and directions, visit the website.
Ava Gardner Museum
(new exhibit opening October 3, 2016)
325 E. Market St.
Smithfield, NC 27577
Contact the Johnston County Visitors Bureau for additional travel assistance.