Johnston County Museum
The Johnston County Museum
Our county museum, featuring 4,500 square feet of displays and a gift shop, is still "under construction" but open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm. The lobby features "Ava Gardner: Our Hometown Star," a display of artifacts, photographs, and stories about Gardner's early life and family. This exhibit was unveiled in October 2022 in celebration of her 100th birthday and will remain until the spring of 2023.
A series of galleries telling the story of Johnston County from prehistory to recent times is scheduled to be completed by December 2022.
The museum is located at 329 E. Market Street, Smithfield, in the former Rose's Department Store next door to the Ava Gardner Museum.
THE STORY OF FIRST CITIZENS BANK --- Built in 1913 for the Bank of Smithfield, the renovated building that houses the Johnston County Heritage Center served for many years as the home office of First Citizens Bank and Trust Company (the bank's headquarters are now in Raleigh). Prior to the Heritage Center's opening in April 2000, First Citizens donated the building to the County of Johnston. In celebration of First Citizens' 103rd anniversary on March 1, 2001, a permanent exhibit was unveiled on the Heritage Center's first floor that tells the story of the bank's founding and subsequent nurturing by Smithfield's Holding family. The exhibit is centered around the bank's vault door, which was left in place as the entrance to the Heritage Center's elevator vestibule.