Springfield braces for interest spike from 'Lincoln' film

By WEEK Producer

November 15, 2012 Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 8:55 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Dave Blanchette is a student of Abraham Lincoln.

The deputy director of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Blanchette is anxious to see Steven Spielberg's new film about the 16th president called 'Lincoln', which debut's Friday.

"Abraham Lincoln's life story is a ready-made novel in and of itself," said Blanchette. "Bringing it to the big screen is going to just make people aware of what Lincoln did throughout his life, some of which they might be aware of, some of which might be entirely new to them."

The museum played a role in the making of the film. Producers of 'Lincoln' actually spent time there doing research. They even took measurements of a scene in one room of the museum where Lincoln and his contemporaries are depicted debating to help achieve accuracy for the same scene in the movie.

The film focuses on the last few months of Lincoln's life and the conflicts he endured on the journey to abolition and ending The Civil War.

"People should pay close attention to the fight to get the 13th amendment passed," said Blanchette. "That's what Lincoln felt was the crowning achievement of his administration and that's a major focus of the movie. And we have a section here at the museum that deals with the 13th amendment."

Not only will Spielberg's film about Lincoln be educational, but it might also provide a spike in tourism. That means more visitors to his tomb, additional tours of his home on 8th Street where he lived from 1944 to 1861, and at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

"People seeing the movie will want to come and see the sights, see where Lincoln actually was and here where he's buried," said David Schultz of the Lincoln Monument Association. "I think it will also be a benefit because it might give people a little bit more information so they'll have a better idea of the questions they want to ask when they're here."

Blanchette added, "We're already seeing a buzz over this movie and we're hoping it will translate into more people coming through our turnstiles."

Blanchette says from the reviews he's read the movie is pretty accurate. If anyone would know, it would be him.