JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Nearly 200 years ago, the Howard family made their home along Michigan Avenue in Jeffersonville.
That home now belongs to the city and next week the Clark County Museum will begin restoring it as part of a plan to expand the museum. But the building's current residents may not be willing to give the home up.
"We have big plans for that house next door," Jeanne Burke, with the Clark County Museum, said.
The family living next door in the old Howard family home has lived here for years. But they're not a typical family -- they're groundhogs.
"They like to come out and sun themselves on the porch," Burke said. "I don't know how they'll act when it is refurbished. They may move away on their own."
Lately she says the groundhogs have been digging in.
"And I saw out of the corner of my eye, a little brown head come up from under the tractor trailer," Burke said.
Mostly, she said, they stay underground.
"Here's their hole. One of their holes, they have several," she told us, pointing out holes surrounding the Howard home.
Burke says they've embraced the groundhog family here. They've named the groundhogs after the Howard family home.
Restoring the home will bring an even stronger connection between the groundhogs and museum.
"We are going to tunnel into it, much like groundhogs do. But we'll be above ground," Burke told us. "We'll build a connector on the back of the museum and tunnel into the house that way."
The expansion will display ancient tools and utensils, as well as exhibits on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Clark County's role throughout different wars. The front part of the home, from 1830, will be restored as such but the back will be turned into different exhibit features.
The photo and history of the original Howards will stay, Burke said. But the current Howard family may have to move.
"They may have to be kindly trapped and taken out to the country and let loose where they can be happy," she said. "We'll wait and see what they have to say about it."
The restoration will take time and donations, finishing it will likely be years down the road. For now, their neighbors can stay put.
To donate to the Clark County Museum, send a check to:
Clark County Museum
P.O. Box 749
Jeffersonville, IN 47131
For more information about the museum, check out their Facebook page.