D.C. Scene: Spielberg on Lincoln; Ken Burns, Leahy, Barr

After working on his film “Lincoln” at the National Archives, Steven Spielberg returned as honoree.

“We were here researching what we needed in terms of props and in terms of all sorts of artifacts,” he said last night at the National Archives Foundation gala.

Spielberg said the archives were useful to both Doris Kearns Goodwin, who wrote the book on which the 2012 film is based, and Tony Kushner, the movie’s screenwriter.

The finished product, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, pleased Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat.

“I’ve seen it two times, and I’m going to see it again,” Leahy said.

Representative Andy Barr, the Kentucky Republican and member of the House Financial Services Committee, said he preferred Spielberg’s 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

National Archivist David Ferriero’s favorite Spielberg: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”

“It moves me every time,” Ferriero said.

Representative Aaron Schock, Illinois Republican, and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns were also guests at the gala. Cocktail sandwiches were served on trays that were decorated with the posters from “E.T” and “Jaws.” A string quartet played the theme song from the “Indiana Jones” series.

Paul Pelosi, the investor husband of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, caught up with Jim Blanchard, a partner at DLA Piper LLP, while others peeked at Napoleon’s signature, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution during a mini-tour of the archive.

The collection also has a draft by Lincoln of his Gettysburg Address, which he delivered 150 years ago yesterday, an anniversary that was marked at the battlefield park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“History is the most exciting thing we’ve got,” Spielberg said. “We live in two directions. We live in the future, but we live not enough in the past. You’ve got to know where you came from. It’s a wonderful place for students and their parents to camp out. I will.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.