Khaznat al-Faroun at Petra, Jordan. Photo taken by Calvin College professor Bert DeVries

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Return to the PETRA homepage April 4, 2005 - August 15, 2005
Lost City of Stone

News: June 15, 2005

Free Petra Offer at Calvin Attracts Over 10,000 Students

Although some homeschoolers are still taking advantage of the "free Petra" offer at Calvin College, most of the traffic for public and private school groups has come to a stop now that the school year is done.

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Calvin officials are tallying up the final numbers for the special offer and say it was an unqualified success.

The most recent report from the Box Office at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin, where the Petra: Lost City of Stone exhibition is on display from now through August 15, shows that about 160 schools throughout Michigan took advantage of the chance to take their students to Petra for free.

The offer began in mid-April when two donors who had seen the exhibition and been wowed by it pledged money to allow any and all school children to see Petra for free. As soon as the offer was announced the phones at the Prince Conference Center started ringing.

Two months later, as school winds down, a total of 5,500 public school students, 3,400 private school students and 1,400 homeschool students have seen Petra for free — a total of 10,300 students.

Those students were accompanied by almost 1,700 adults for a total of 12,000 visitors!

Another $12,000 was contributed toward transportation costs for a total bill for the two donors of $71,000. And they couldn't be happier.

"Both the donors were amazed by the Petra exhibition when they say it," says Henry DeVries, a vice president at Calvin and a member of the Petra Steering Committee. "Their goal was to get as many students as possible through the exhibition by the end of the school year. They felt very strongly that this was an opportunity that should be denied to no student because of cost. So, for us to report to them that over 10,000 students saw Petra because of their generosity was a very pleasant task. They are thrilled that things worked out the way they did."

Petra: Lost City of Stone is at Calvin until August 15 and 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.

About 30,000 visitors have seen Petra: Lost City of Stone thus far at Calvin College.

Waves of sand