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Ava Gardner Museum Awarded Grant

The Ava Gardner Collection was begun by Dr. Tom Banks and was donated to the Town of Smithfield after his death in 1989. Since that time, the collection has grown through donations from other collectors, fans, and family members, as well as through acquisitions purchased by the Museum.

The Ava Gardner Museum’s collection includes items and artifacts that represent both Ava Gardner’s 45-year film career and her private life at home and in Johnston County. The collection, which contains over 20,000 items, consists of various paper artifacts, film costumes, personal wardrobe, awards, china, jewelry, and fine art.

The grant received through the Traveling Archivist Program allowed the archivist Dr. Hal Keiner to visit the Ava Gardner Museum to survey the collection, create a collections assessment, and make recommendations for better management and organization of the collection. The Ava Gardner Museum was one of 42 North Carolina institutions that were awarded this grant in the program’s first year.

“With a collection as large as the Ava Gardner Collection, the task of cataloguing had become almost impossible without a curator or archivist on staff. With this assistance, the Ava Gardner Museum has been given the tools and resources to begin the project of organizing the collection,” stated Jessica Meadows Hammett, Executive Director.

The Traveling Archivist Program (TAP) is a pilot project developed by the North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) and the North Carolina State Archives, the goal of which is to provide direct assistance to institutions that preserve North Carolina’s historical heritage and whose collections are at risk.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, or by calling 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors and groups and $4.00 children.

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