Thank You for
    Your Interest in Ava

    The museum is already planning for Ava’s Centennial year in 2023. This southern starlet will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Christmas Eve of 2022 and the museum dedicated to preserving her legacy plans mark the occasion in a big way. There are many long-term plans in place that will kick off in 2022 and continue into 2023, including new exhibits, new collection items, and other big announcements.

    Our fans can continue to engage with the Ava Gardner Museum online. We share information about Ava’s remarkable life and our vast collection on our social media and blog. We have new virtual offerings that bring the museum to you at home including the episodes of our new virtual series entitled Ava Chats and a virtual exhibit about Ava's film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.

    Anyone interested can support the museum with our repair expenses by donating to the museum, shopping in our online gift shop, and following the museum on social media.


    Celebrating Ava's Centennial

    The Museum is kicking off Ava’s Centennial year with the Ava Gardner Festival, October 7-9. This southern starlet will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Christmas Eve of 2022 and the museum plans to make the entire year all about marking the occasion. This includes the debut of numerous projects currently in the works, the first of which, a mural, debuted recently in Downtown Smithfield. North Carolina native and Greensboro artist, Jeks One was selected to bring the mural to life.

    The Ava Gardner Mural, located on the side of the museum, and visible to west bound traffic on Market St., is the culmination of nearly a year of work by the Ava Gardner Museum. It is also part of a larger project that includes a soon to be revealed commemorative rose garden. Funding for this Centennial project was provided by the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant, the Johnston County Arts Council, and one of Ava’s previous companions Carmen Vargas.

    Visitors to the Ava Gardner Museum and to Downtown Smithfield can view the massive and incredible life-like mural now. It portrays Ava across the many seasons of her life. The aforementioned rose garden is coming soon and will likely be installed by mid May. Witherspoon's of Durham will be planting 18 Hotel California Yellow Tea Roses with boxwoods and hedges surrounding the roses in a bed that lies beside the museum and directly under the mural. 

    A Musical Tribute to Ava

    The Ava Gardner Museum hosts an annual festival in honor of the legendary actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian Ava Gardner, a North Carolina native who grew up just 7-miles east of Smithfield. This year’s festival, scheduled for October 7-9, kicks off Ava’s 100th Centennial Celebration and will include a multitude of exciting events, as the museum unveils new exhibits, conducts heritage tours, hosts special film and video presentations, and more. This includes a special evening of music themed around Ava! 

    Billed as “A Musical Tribute to Ava Gardner”, concert goers will experience a celebration of Ava's life through music!  Ava truly loved music from the big band sounds of her second husband, Artie Shaw, to the torch songs that Frank Sinatra was so famous for singing following their break-up.  Enjoy this musical tribute to Ava with the NC Revelers Orchestra from Raleigh and featuring guest performers, Broadway actor and singer John Arthur Greene, and opera and jazz singer Angelique Alexander. This collaboration also includes Jonathan Levin, founder of The Clayton Piano Festival, bringing us a medley of Ava's movie songs and much more.

    Beginning at 6:30pm, the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation will host a cash bar prior to the concert in the lobby of The Clayton Center, and guests may also enjoy a slice of Ava's Birthday Cake and light refreshments provided by the Ava Gardner Museum. Premium reserved seats will be $45 plus fees/taxes and general seating will be $30 plus fees/taxes. Tickets are only available through The Clayton Center box office, online

    The festival continues through Sunday in Smithfield and a full schedule of events, including updates and announcements, can be found here.



    Logo for the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC.




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