August 27, 2008 National Treasure's "Book of Secrets" on Display Through Sept. 27
DVD Bonus Feature “Inside the Library of Congress” Also Showcased
Press Contact: Matt Raymond (202) 707-0020; Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Shortly following the release of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” millions of moviegoers might have left theaters around the world believing that the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library, was home to a book that holds all of the U.S. presidents’ secrets from alien autopsies to the truth about the JFK assassination, as well as the location of buried treasure.
That was fiction, but the real story and the “reel” story merge a little when the “Book of Secrets” movie prop and a bonus feature about the Library and its formidable collections went on display this summer in the South Orientation Gallery on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
Visitors to the Jefferson will have an opportunity to see the display through Sept. 27.
Joining the “Book of Secrets” in the display case is another prop from the movie, John Wilkes Booth’s diary. However, unlike the “Book of Secrets,” a Booth diary actually existed.
The display also includes two “bonus features” that Disney created for some versions of the film’s DVD release. One highlights the making of the “Book of Secrets” prop, detailing the intricate work by designers to make the book look authentic. An expert calligrapher even used antique writing tools to copy the handwriting of actual presidents.
The other bonus feature, “Inside the Library of Congress,” takes viewers on an extraordinary behind-the-scenes tour of the Library, including the Great Hall and rarely seen areas in the Main Reading Room. There are also interviews with the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and curators from the Library’s custodial divisions, including Collections Access, Loan and Management; Geography and Map; Manuscript; Preservation; Rare Book and Special Collections; and Prints and Photographs, which houses rare photographs of Booth’s co-conspirators.
“Maybe the most extraordinary buildings in the world are St. Peter’s Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Library of Congress,” said the film’s director, Jon Turteltaub, on the nine-minute featurette.
The video also includes interviews with members of the movie’s cast and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “It is an historic building,” said Bruckheimer. “It is an historic place for all of our great literature and everything else about this great country and around the world.”
The Library has the largest collection of American and foreign-produced films in the world. Although it has played a major role in collecting and preserving the nation’s film heritage, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution has itself played multiple roles on the big screen.
In addition to appearing in “National Treasure” in 2004 and playing a pivotal role in its sequel, the Library was showcased in several movies dating back to the silent film era. Perhaps the most famous of these films were the 1951 version of “Born Yesterday,” starring Judy Holliday and William Holden, and “All the President’s Men,” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 138 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. As the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library is a symbol of democracy and the principles on which this nation was founded. Today the Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site, in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov.