Through all that commotion, the years have worn on Lady Baltimore.

While the lower portions of the monument were built with brick cores encased in marble mined from quarries in Cockeysville, Lady Baltimore was carved from marble imported from Carrara in northern Italy, Kotarba said. It has become what geologists call "sugared," with grains of marble crumbling away after years of exposure to the elements.

While the monument was surrounded by scaffolding during a restoration last year, Hopkins took a Baltimore Heritage tour group to see it up close. The need for preservation of the statue was clear, he said.

"You notice more when you're up there at her height; she is facing directly to the harbor down Calvert Street," Hopkins said. "All the wind and rain and pollution and hail and snow comes blowing straight up from the harbor."

Lady Baltimore — 12 feet tall with her pedestal — will move to a new exhibit in the Walters by next March. Museum officials haven't decided exactly where or how it will be shown, but Gary Vikan, the museum's director, said it will complement a planned exhibition of the works of Richard Caton Woodville, a prominent Baltimore painter who was born the same year the monument was completed.

"We're very eager to find a setting for it that will be revealing of its interesting history," Vikan said.

Steve Tatti, a New York art conservator who has worked on city monuments since the early 1980s, said he plans to begin work on a replica of Lady Baltimore this summer. His crew took molds of the statue and of griffins that adorn the monument around her while doing the restoration work last year.

There will likely be a period of a few days when, for the first time since 1822, no Lady Baltimore will stand atop the Battle Monument, he said. But there are no plans to take her down before the replica is ready.

The city historical commission's members felt that with the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812, now is a fitting time to ensure the continued preservation of Lady Baltimore, Kotarba said. The monument embodies the importance of the 1814 battle to the nation's history and Baltimore's part in it, Duff said.

"There's no possible number of Super Bowls that can equate to how people felt in 1814," Duff said. "The whole country was very proud of what had happened here."