Charlotte Richter/Staff Writer
The Friends of the Frontier Army Museum is currently accepting entries for the 2022 FFAM Essay Contest via the FFAM website through March 10.
The contest is open to high school students, grades 9-12, within 20 miles of Fort Leavenworth. To enter, interested students submit a 1,000-1,500-word, double-spaced essay to answer an annually themed question based on historical research and the Frontier Army Museum collection. The top three winners in the contest earn cash prizes between $250-$1,000 with no limitations on use.
FFAM Vice President Amanda Siegner said each year, FFAM selects a question to mirror current events. This year, Siegner worked with FAM museum specialists to identify areas of the collection that could be easily accessible for students who may not visit the museum. The idea of digital access for memories and history, as well as frontier history, inspired this year’s question: “Making memories in the Frontier Days — how did they do it without iPhones?!”
“It kind of requires you to get creative, and that’s the thing we want to see is kids get creative and think outside of the box and show us what they really think (people on the frontier) might have done,” Siegner said. “We want you to be super creative; we look for the individuality of (responses)… This is not a school essay for a grade, this is meant to be fun.”
Siegner said the contest promotes the museum’s mission to educate, and as someone who appreciates history,
she said she enjoys her role in showing students how to share and explore historical perspectives.
FFAM President Aimee Bateman said students in Kansas typically learn the state’s history at a younger grade level, so the contest is an opportunity to reengage high schoolers in Kansas and military history. Bateman said the contest also raises awareness about the museum and encourages museum visitation.
“That’s why we open this up to the greater community, too — this isn’t just for military-connected kids or people who are connected to Fort Leavenworth; it’s for everyone around here because this is their history, too,” Bateman said.
While the essay contest does not seek a winner through a specific rubric, Batman said the judges appreciate when students leverage information gathered from the collections in FAM archives to answer the essay question.
“One of the best things about this essay contest is it gives you an excuse to go to the museum, spend a couple of hours there, take your family and friends, and I think (students) will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy the experience,” Bateman said.
For contest details and more information, visit
For museum hours and information, visit https://history.army.mil/museums/TRADOC/frontier-army-museum/index.html