Hands-On Universe (HOU) was initially established by a grant from the National Science Foundation around 1990. Its global counterpart, Global Hands-On Universe (GHOU) was established a few years later. The Principal Investigator for this initial grant and several subsequent grants was Dr. Carl Pennypacker of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was his idea that the work that he and many other astrophysicists were doing in their professional field could also be done by students. He reasoned that students could make real measurements with real astronomical data and learn sophisticated astronomy if they were given a student-friendly image processing software and an accompanying curriculum. With these tools they could get their "hands on the universe". The initial grant provided for the training of an initial cadre of Teacher Resource Agents (TRA's). It also provided for the development of software and curriculum. Over the many years following, these TRA's led training workshops around the country for high-school teachers who, in turn, used the curriculum and the software with their students. I was fortunate to be one of those initial TRA's. I led a number of workshops both in the US and in several other countries including Kenya, Venezuela, India (all done via video teleconference) and in Chile (face to face). I also made many contributions to the curriculum we were teaching.
The link to the current HOU-USA website: http://handsonuniverse.org/usa/
Link to the GTTP Workshop that I co-led in Hawaii: http://handsonuniverse.org/ghou2015/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/07/GTTP2015-Programme.pdf