Celebrate the Baltimore Monument Lighting at the Maryland Historical Society

BALTIMORE, November 15, 2013  -- On Thursday, December 5 from 4pm-9pm, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) is hosting a Lady Baltimore Debut Party and Holiday Open House.

The event will be held in conjunction with the annual Baltimore Monument Lighting in Mount Vernon, Baltimore. Beginning at 4 pm at The Maryland Historical Society, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will speak about the history of the 190-year old Lady Baltimore statue and its significance to the city. Known as the 'iconic symbol of Baltimore,' this marks the first time that Lady Baltimore will be on view to the general public since its move from atop the Battle Monument in October.

Maryland Historical Society President Burt Kummerow will provide introductory remarks, and Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch will describe the statue's fascinating relocation process as well as interpret the artistic importance of the Battle Monument for 1812-era America. Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine's Chief of Interpretation Vince Vaise will speak about his personal connection to Lady Baltimore. Kathleen Kotarba, Executive Director of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, CHAP, which administered the project, will also speak.

Throughout the evening, visitors will receive FREE museum admission and enjoy cookies, cider, hot cocoa, Christmas carol sing-a-longs and more.

The Fort McHenry Fife and Drum Corps, 1812 Living History characters, and the Notre Dame Institute and Choir will provide entertainment.

In addition, the recreated Star-Spangled Banner flag, which last summer was stitched completely by hand by volunteers from Maryland and around the world, will be on view for one night only in France Hall.

The complete Public Event schedule at The Maryland Historical Society on December 5 is as follows:

4:00 PM - Opening Remarks by MdHS President Burt Kummerow
4:10 PM -  Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, CHAP, Executive Director Kathleen Kotarba
4:20 PM - Fort McHenry Chief of Interpretation Vince Vaise
4:30 PM - Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch
4:40 PM - Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
4:50 PM - Fort McHenry Fife and Drums
5:00 PM - Refreshments served
5:00-9:00 PM - Open House featuring the recreated Star Spangled Banner, carolers and 1812 Living History characters

About Lady Baltimore

Lady Baltimore Move
Image: Kaitlin Newman, Baltimore Sun

In early October, 2013, the eight-foot Lady Baltimore statue was placed into a cage and carefully lowered from atop The Battle Monument. A concrete reproduction was moved into its place.

Lady Baltimore was transported by The George Young Company to the Maryland Historical Society, where, just as carefully, the statue was transported upstairs to the second floor gallery to its new, permanent home. The process posed many design challenges, and raising the 2,700 lb Carrara Marble statue onto its permanent base was no easy feat. It took a team more than 90 minutes to lift the statue 1.5 feet. Using railroad jacks, they blocked the statue up, step by step, to distribute the load and safely raise her onto a specially constructed base.

Lady Baltimore's new home is in an environmentally friendly location in the second-floor gallery at The Maryland Historical Society. Passersby on Park Ave. are able to view Lady Baltimore through floor-to-ceiling windows. At night, the statue is beautifully illuminated.

This marks the first time visitors to will be able to see Lady Baltimore 'up close,' and evidence of the environmental toll that Time has taken is apparent. Almost two centuries of wind, rain and pollution have taken a toll on its features and storms had blown off both of its arms (they were later restored). The statue underwent years of restoration efforts by Conservator of Fine Arts, Steven Tatti, Inc. with Crump & Kwash Manufacturing LLC. The project was administered by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, CHAP. Lady Baltimore's new and wonderful installation at The Maryland Historical Society is the culmination of CHAP's $400,000 restoration of the Battle Monument. This legacy project is CHAP's contribution to the Star Spangled Banner Bicentennial.

About The Maryland Historical Society Open House

"It's become an annual tradition here at The Maryland Historical Society," says President Burt Kummerow. "Just as every year, Mount Vernon celebrates the holiday season by illuminating the Washington Monument in festive lights, we decorate our lobby with festive ornaments and feature hot chocolate, cookies and even a visit from carolers singing historical holiday songs! We are especially excited this year to feature not one, but two major new items on public display: Lady Baltimore and our recreated Star-Spangled Banner flag."

The Baltimore Monument Lighting, sponsored by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, will begin at 5:30pm in front of the Washington Monument, with the Lighting Ceremony set to start at 7:00pm. A colorful burst of fireworks marks the finale.

The Open House at The Maryland Historical Society will run from 4pm-9 pm, making it the perfect time to stop in before or after the Monument Lighting.

 "It's an evening of fun the whole family can enjoy," Kummerow continues, "So come in out of the cold and step back in time at MdHS!"

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to Francis Scott Key's original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine."

For more information, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at 410-685-3750 Ext. 322 or lrodini@mdhs.org.