BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore historians are working to figure out the best way to remove paint from a delicate statue in Patterson Park after the statue, which honors the national anthem, was damaged by vandals earlier this week.

The Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument is still cloaked in red paint, and the clean up project is so delicate, it is now in the hands of historians, who are hoping to clean it without doing any further damage.

RELATED: Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument Defaced

From bronze, to blood red.

A century-old statue commemorating the battle of Baltimore is wrapped up in a battle of its own after someone discovered it doused in red paint early Monday morning.

The words ‘Racist Anthem’ were spray painted on the sidewalk in front of the statue, and that has already been scrubbed from the sidewalk.

“Certainly we were disappointed that it had been targeted, but we understand freedom of expression,” Jennifer Robinson, with Friends of Patterson Park. “We just think that this conversation could be had in a more productive way.”

Those who live nearby say they are absolutely disappointed.

“I’ve got tears in my eyes because it’s not a racial thing, it’s a children thing,” said Ann-Louise Novak, who lives nearby.

The statue has looked out over the southeast corner of the city for more than 100 years, and its age is part of the challenge of cleaning up this mess.

Historians who care for the city’s monuments are now tasked with major restoration.

“They’re working with a conservator to make sure the paint is removed from the statue in the best way not to harm the statue,” Robinson said. “And then they’ll do a restorative coat on the outside of it.”

Last September, the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Bolton Hill was sprayed with the same words.

The message is tied to a line about slavery in the third verse of the national anthem, which some interpret as racist.

The city is now wondering how they can prevent other statues from meeting the same fate, as they start cleanup on yet another star-spangled statue.

WJZ has been told the plan for restoration is in progress.

The friends of Patterson Park is asking the public to let the experts handle the clean up.

Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement earlier this week saying they will find the person responsible.

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