Local News

Ava's Museum On the Move

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SMITHFIELD — Board members of the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield have achieved a longtime goal -- to move it to larger quarters.

The museum will move next year from its current location in a small store to a space beside the Old Belk's store on Main Street.

That's right off Highway 70 and a mile from I-95. Museum officials say the new 6,000-square-foot space will better able them to preserve and display memorabilia from Johnston County's most famous native.

The curator hopes to offer themed displays, rotate the exhibits and create some excitement in the new facility.

The museum follows Gardner's life from Smithfield to Hollywood and on to Spain, and it includes her marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. Visitors see her high school yearbooks and photos, costumes, posters and photographs from her movie career, and a series of oil paintings of Gardner by a dedicated fan from the Netherlands.