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Free Petra For Local School Children
April 15, 2005

Thanks to a pair of local donors school children in Michigan are going to have a chance to see the Petra: Lost City of Stone exhibition at Calvin College for free.

Schools: Download the form needed to take advantage of the free ticket offer, print it, fill it out and then FAX it back to the Petra Box Office. If you have trouble downloading the form, please send an email to and we will email or FAX the form back to you.

One donor, Karl and Patricia Betz, is contributing $25,000 for area students to attend the exhibition, while another donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will donate as much money as is needed for students to attend Petra: Lost City of Stone.

Calvin's June Hamersma is co-chair of Petra: Lost City of Stone and she says the two gifts are amazing offers.

"I had a chance to see the exhibition last week with my own grandchildren," she says, "and they couldn't get enough of it. They were fascinated. At the time I remember thinking that everyone their age should have a chance to experience Petra. Now, thanks to these two generous gifts any school or child who could not afford to attend the exhibition will be able to do so."

Hamersma notes that the offer will be good for school groups of 10 or more, and that it will apply Mondays through Fridays during normal school hours.

And, she says, if the cost of busing is an issue for a school that can be covered by the available funds as well.

"We don't want any school to not be able to see Petra because the money is not there," she says. "We will use these generous gifts to the college to cover both admission to the exhibition and transportation."

Petra: Lost City of Stone features over 200 exceptional objects, including stone sculptures and reliefs, ceramics, metalwork, architectural elements, terracotta or ancient water pipes, artworks in various media and other fascinating artifacts. All are on loan from collections in Jordan and throughout Europe and the United States. Many are on display in the United States for the first time.

Hamersma says it has a lot of appeal to children of all ages.

"Petra has been called a Jordanian version of the King Tut exhibition," she says. "It is very visual and very educational. It includes a fantastic video that provides an introduction to the ancient city. It also includes a flyover of Petra as it looks today. And it has several other elements sure to please schoolchildren, including a virtual reality tour of the dig sites in and around Petra."

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and presented under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Petra is the first major cultural collaboration between Jordan and the United States. Air transportation generously provided by Royal Jordanian. A lead local sponsor for Petra is Huntington Bank - West Michigan.