'National Treasure 2' Opens, Library Gets 10 Minutes of Fame

Image of Nicolas Cage as "Ben Gates" in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress from NT2's official Web siteUnless you’ve been living on Mars, you’re probably aware that “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” opened today in theaters. And even then, I suspect that the little green men have also been inundated with “NT2″ ads and media hoopla beamed in their general direction.

I’ve already seen it twice, and although I’ll leave the film criticism to the pros, I really enjoyed it even in spite of my bias. If you (like millions of others) liked the first one, you’ll probably like the sequel.

As I’ve previously blogged (here and here), the Library of Congress has a central role in the movie, a clue to which is found in the film’s title itself. (For the spoiler-conscious, in writing that, I am giving away nothing that hasn’t already been revealed in trailers or written in the reviews that have been issuing forth.) Our time on-screen clocks in at about 10 minutes.

I’ll update this post with links to media that focus on the Library’s role in the film. But so far:

TV Guide Network began running on hour-long special called “Big Movie Premiere” on Dec. 20 that features a couple of segments from inside the Library.

The Washington Convention and Tourism Corp. built a special Web site called “Trails to Treasure” to promote DC locations in NT2 Soon a series of video podcasts, including one focusing on the Library, will go live on the site.

RottenTomatoes.com has an “exclusive featurette” that travels to many of NT2′s locations and includes some beauty shots from the Thomas Jefferson Building. (A soundbite from actor Justin Bartha was taped in the Main Reading Room.)

For good measure, I’ll link again to the April articles from The Washington Post (here and here) about an one insider?s story during the production’s time at the Library of Congress.

Even though the movie is chock-full of fiction, there is also a lot of fact upon which NT2′s globe-trotting treasure hunt is hung which is why the Library agreed to cooperate with the production in the first place. As one critic wrote, a little bit of American history on the silver screen is preferable to none at all. And anything that inspires people, especially young people, to learn about the Library of Congress and all that we have to offer is only a good thing, by our lights.

(Along those lines, one interesting thing to me personally during this time has been the opportunity see some of the movie’s props firsthand, such as the eponymous Book of Secrets and John Wilkes Booth’s dairy.  As we begin to open the doors of this institution even wider to the public in coming months, we hope to put a few of those items on display at least for a brief time to help spark people’s imagination about this wonderful place.)

So have you seen the movie? If so, does it make you more likely to visit or learn more about your nation’s library?

(Image of Nicolas Cage as “Ben Gates” in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress from NT2′s official Web site)

The Interactives Are Coming

It?s been a very busy day in a very busy week for us, but I managed to squeeze in some time today to get a preview of the new high-tech computer interactives that will be featured throughout new Library of Congress exhibits, starting with ?Exploring the Early Americas? on Dec. 13. In a word: WOW. […]

December 7, a Date That Lives On

Driving to work this morning, I noticed the flags of federal office buildings lowered to half-staff. Quite often, that means that a member of Congress or a notable government official has died, so my heart always leaps into my throat if I don?t already know the specific reason why. And then I remembered today?s date: […]

America: Making a Federal Case out of It

In advance of the Dec. 13 opening of ?Exploring the Early Americas,? Wyatt Mason of The New York Times Magazine penned a thought-provoking piece on the naming of America (with a suitably Colbert-esque headline), focusing on the new ongoing exhibit?s 1507 World Map by Martin Waldseem? As Mason writes, the seven-letter word that names our […]

Get 'in Touch' With Our Early History

Did you see the news about a fantastic, new exhibition that is opening here on Dec. 13? ?Exploring the Early Americas? will give people a glimpse of the future of not just our exhibits, but also the educational power of our collections and primary-source materials. This will be the Library?s most high-tech exhibition to date, […]

Bib-Future Report Goes Live

The full draft report of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control is now on the Web and the comments period is open until Dec. 15.? Electronic comments are preferred. Incidentally, the webcast of the group?s presentation on Nov. 13 has apparently been one of the most heavily viewed in the entire history […]