Behind every archaeological object is a story—or many stories. Who created it and why? What challenges did it help address? How and when was it abandoned? Who found it, and what did they think about it? What new purpose does the object now have? 

The Kelsey Prize: A New Competition

In 2021 the Kelsey Museum Education Department announced a new competition, the Kelsey Prize for Excellence in Archaeological Research and Interpretation, which invites University of Michigan undergraduate students to explore and discover the stories behind the objects at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. This annual competition is open to any undergraduate from any discipline at UM-Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn, or UM-Flint. Submissions can take many forms, from essays to original works of art, online student exhibitions, and research posters.

We announced the Kelsey Prize in July of 2021 and received a total of eight entries before the deadline on January 24, 2022. From the submitted entries, four winners have been selected whose projects demonstrated careful research and thoughtful interpretation of objects in the Kelsey Museum’s archaeological collections.

Meet the Winners

Clockwise from top left: Jason Leaym, Anna Luurtsema, Araceli Rizzo, and Dani Tutak.
  • Jason Leaym is a third-year majoring in classical civilization with minors in history and Latin language and literature. 
  • Anna Luurtsema is a third-year in the LSA Honors Program majoring in anthropology.
  • Araceli Rizzo is a third-year studying classical archaeology.
  • Dani Tutak is a third-year pursuing dual degrees in art and design as well as anthropology. 

As winners of this year's Kelsey Prize, Jason, Anna, Araceli, and Dani will work with Kelsey Museum staff to mount an exhibition of the objects they have chosen to explore. This mini-exhibition will be on view at the Kelsey starting April 7. Images of the objects and the installation will be available to view on our website after the exhibition opening. 

Click here to learn more about this year's winners and read their essays.