Ava Gardner Museum Hires New Manager

SMITHFIELD – The Ava Gardner Museum board of directors has hired Angelica Henry as the new Museum Manager. Long-time Executive Director, Lynell Seabold, has retired to Edenton, NC, however, she will remain working with the Museum part-time as bookkeeper and grant administrator.

Angelica Henry

Angelica Henry is a Florida native with a passion for preserving memories. Henry holds a Bachelors in Art History and Arts Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and pursued a Masters in Library Science with a concentration in Archives and Special Collections from her alma mater.

Weekly, Angelica volunteers as a docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Beside her love for the museum realm, Angelica is an avid reader, writer and house plant hobbyist. She attributes her love for Golden Age Hollywood to her mother, Claudia, who raised her on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

“I know fans of Ava to be tried and true. I cannot wait to meet everyone, and to hear the many stories and personal connections to this luminary of a woman. I’ve got big shoes to fill following Lynell’s seven years of leadership, and I am humbly up for the challenge!”, stated Henry.

Angelica will be training for the next few months under the direction of Lynell Seabold learning all about Ava’s life, career, family, and her connections to Hollywood’s elite. There is much to learn to represent the museum locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to attract visitors to the museum and online via social media and digital exhibits.

“Please join me in welcoming Angelica to the AGM Team! Angelica and I will be working closely with the board of directors to continue our positive momentum and to protect and preserve Ava’s lasting legacy. Angelica brings enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the Museum and we are excited to begin this new collaboration. We hope you will visit us in 2024, and get to know the real Ava Gardner who continues to inspire us all”, stated Lynell Seabold.

For more than 30 years, the Ava Gardner Museum has welcomed visitors from around the world; inviting them to learn more about the iconic movie actress who was born in Johnston County. Each October, the museum hosts new exhibits and special events at the Ava Gardner Festival, scheduled this year on October 4-6, 2024.

“The contributions of Lynell Seabold to the Museum’s mission and vision have been immeasurable over the past seven years, and certainly too many to name. Suffice it to say, above all we have accomplished together, Lynell is and will always be part of the Ava Gardner Museum family. It takes a tremendous commitment from a dedicated board of directors, our museum director, and docents to maintain the museum, curate exhibits, and bring innovative events to the public and loyal fans of Ava. We wish Lynell the very best in her semi-retirement,” said Donna Bailey-Taylor, Chairperson, Ava Gardner Museum Board.

The Museum is located in Historic Downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and is open throughout the year, Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm with admission of $12.00 adults, $10.00 seniors and groups and $6.00 children age 6-12, under 6 Free.


  1. I think it is interesting that so much tax money is spent on an Ava Gardner museum when she didn’t even live in the US so she would not have to pay taxes. Why not expand the museum to include the collections of all her men over the years? Have Frankie Sinatra and Mickey Rooney wings.

  2. Ava Gardner was born here and remained until she was 13 years old. Smithfield is her roots for which she stayed true to. And many family members are living right here as some siblings remained when she was in Hollywood and abroad. She visited often.
    She left the US for Spain to get away and then she moved to London, where she could walk her dog and not be bombarded with paparazzi.
    Additionally , the Ava Gardner Museum is non profit, so I’m a bit confused on the tax dollars. 🤔

  3. Where in the story did it say anything about tax money being spent on the museum? As stated above, it is a non-profit therefore tax money should not be involved at all.

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