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2018–2019 Jackier Prize Competition

What do I need to do to compete?

Submit a 5- to 10-page essay that examines an object or objects from the Kelsey Museum. The object may be on display or from collections storage. This could be a paper you have already written for a class or one specifically written for this contest.

The subject matter of the essay may vary, but the essay needs to incorporate a Kelsey object or objects and to reflect careful research. Careful research does not include citing Wikipedia. While Wikipedia does have information about many topics and can be a good place to start exploring a topic, anyone with access to the internet is able to edit, change, or add information to Wikipedia. It is not a source that has been vetted by experts of the various topics, nor does it undergo any peer review. It does contain erroneous information, especially about the ancient world. It is, however, a good place to find lists of scholarly resources on your chosen topic that you can cite (in the reference field at the bottom of the page). But DO NOT CITE, QUOTE, OR PARAPHRASE FROM WIKIPEDIA IN YOUR PAPER.

Some suggestions for what to explore in the essay are:

  • When and where was the object made?
  • Who made it, and how was it produced?
  • Who was it made for and how was it used?
  • What does the object tell us about the people who produced and consumed it (gender, age, ethnicity,  social standing)?
  • What can we learn from the history of the object itself — its original purpose, later uses, and afterlife in the museum?
  • Where was the object discovered, and under what circumstances did it come to the Kelsey Museum?

Here is a worksheet to help guide your examination.

What objects should I use?

Please feel free to use any object on display, but keep in mind that objects in the special exhibition will not be available after the exhibition closes. Please check with the Museum for the closing date of any special exhibition.

You may also use objects that you handled during a class visit, which are not usually on display. If you wish to schedule a second visit to look at them again more closely, please contact our Educational and Academic Outreach Coordinator, Cathy Person ( When you contact Cathy, please make sure to include the object(s) you wish to see and which class you were in (course name and number). Please consult these guidelines prior to visiting. 

Ready to submit your essay?

Essays can be submitted at any time up until 8 a.m. on Monday, January 28, 2019. Submit your essay via email to On the first page of the essay, please provide the title of the essay, a picture(s) of the object(s) discussed in the essay, and your name and email address. You will receive an email within 48 hours confirming that the essay was successfully submitted.

Essays will be reviewed by a selection committee overseen by Kelsey Museum staff. Up to five winners will be selected and contacted in mid-February 2019. The winners will be invited to assist in creating an exhibition of the objects they wrote about and will be awarded the Jackier Prize in a ceremony in early April 2019.

Questions? Concerns? Please contact the Kelsey Museum Educational and Academic Outreach Coordinator, Cathy Person (

Good luck!