Housed in an elegant building along one side of Manchester Square, just behind Oxford Street in London, the Wallace Collection includes some of the most sumptuous objects, many from the 17th and 18th centuries, that you are ever likely to see anywhere outside a stately home. But then, Hertford House was once an aristocratic family home. Now it welcomes visitors - and admission is free.
Last week it celebrated its centenary with a visit from the Prince of Wales, 100 years to the day after its opening by another Prince of Wales.
Like many other galleries in this new millennium, it has been refurbished and extended, its central courtyard covered by a vast glass roof, said to be so light that it could be transported by helicopter. And among the new facilities are spaces for education, including a study centre, lecture theatre and meeting room.
Most of the Wallace Collection's schools programme has been geared to primary and special needs pupils and sixth-form groups. A full secondary programme will be launched in 2002, but themed talks can be arranged for key stages 3 and 4.
There will be life-drawing sessions for A-level students in the next academic year and some lucky primary children can still meet Van Dyck - well, an actor in costume who looks awfully like him - before the end of this term. Children learn about the period, dress in costume, pose in the manner of figures from the portraits and draw directly from the paintings. Storytelling, myths and legends, the life of a foot soldier in Tudor England - the collection lends itself to many other activities for young school visitors.
Meanwhile, there are holiday and weekend family events including the chance to handle and try on some of the armour collection.
And if you don't want to do anything at all, go and smile back at Frans Hals's "Laughing Cavalier". He can cheer up the most jaded gallery-goer, of any age.
Information: 020 7935 0687; www.wallace-collection.org.uk Some schools are ending the term with a bang. In Southwark, the Year 6s at Alma School have worked for months on their version of Romeo and Juliet under teacher Tien Vu, and have sold out Southwark Playhouse for a week. And from July 3, 50 pupils and teachers from Ravens Wood School, Bromley, Kent, will be setting off for Norffjarden, Sweden, 50km south of the Arctic Circle. There they will perform Three Boys on a Mountain, a musical based on a Swedish legend, the story of three brothers who travelled from the North Pole in search of a new land andsettled in the valley where Porsnas school is today. The head of music there, Eric Anderson, wrote the musical with the head of drama at Ravens Wood, Andrew Underwood.
Back on the streets of Britain, breakdancing is in the spotlight. The National Conference on Street Arts amp; Education will take place on July 6 at De Montfort University in Leicester to explore ways in which "street arts", including circus skills and the kind of acrobatic dancing that makes us creaky oldies wince, can be incorporated into the national curriculum. Hundreds of young people take part in an annual Raw Talent festival in the city and will be doing so this year while the unacrobatic chat goes on sedately. Between July 3 and 9, pupils aged between four and 18 will take part in workshops, and on Saturday, July 8 the public will be able to participate in the town centre.
Steve White, headteacher of Rushey Mead secondary school, Leicester, and a speaker at the conference, says: "Skills learned through the arts - particularly street arts - are more than just creative. Participation develops effective teamwork and boosts confidence."
Information: 0116 2998888; www.rawtalentuk.com The cream of UK graduate design, New Designers 2000, will be on show at the Business Design Centre in London in two phases. Between July 6 and 9, ceramics, jewellery, glass and furniture will be among the categories displayed; from July 13 to 16, graphic design, illustration, photography, model-making, web design and fashion will be on show. Tickets: 0870 735 2100; enquiries: 020 7359 3535. Information: www.newdesigners.com The artist Anthony Green is touring cathedrals with a work called Resurrection. A narrative sculpture composed of 14 individual pieces made from wood, MDF and linen painted in oil, it includes treasured possessions from Green's life including a carpet, a chandelier and a clock that chimes reminders of mortality. Nineteen-and-a-half feet long, the piece includes two lights to symbolise earthly and heavenly illumination. Hundreds of school students visit the sculpture at each location, listen to Anthony Green's talk on the subject and are inspired to produce their own work.
Teachers and students at GCSE and A-level have responded especially favourably to the experience, but one nine-year-old is reported to have commented: "This is very good. I like the lights and his eyes." At Glasgow until July 6; then Truro, Exeter and Hereford and Pond Street Chapel, London in November. Information: 020 7736 5605.