National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), together with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), presents the exhibit “Happy Days: American Culture and Daily Life in Kaohsiung.” The Exhibit is curated by NSYSU’s USR Project “The City as a Commuseum” and opens on September 24 at KD9 of Kaohsiung Port Depot. The Exhibit features the life and stories of ordinary people in Kaohsiung from the 1950s on close interactions between people of Taiwan and the United States and the vibrant days. The exhibit ceremony opened with remarks from NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, and Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Shyy Che.

Since the 1950s, the Yancheng District near the Port of Kaohsiung began to be deeply influenced by American culture. The influences are still around today, like American restaurants, bars, record stores, gold jewelry stores, and trading houses. Western fashion and food became popular, gradually changing Taiwanese society. This exhibit displayed food, clothing, housing, transportation, and entertainment during the time and invited many local stores and shops that had opened for nearly 60 years to participate. Old photos and historical objects witness the interaction between Taiwan and the United States in many aspects of life during the Happy days. This exhibit also explores Americans’ contribution and cultural activities in Kaohsiung, from the United States Information Service (USIS) to the current AIT.

This exhibit is organized by associate professor Mei-Hsiang Wang of NSYSU’s Department of Sociology. For many years, professor Wang has taught courses such as social investigation, research methods, and community cultural and creative design. She helps students integrate and translate their research findings on the city’s history into a systematic ‘Kaohsiung Studies,’ and presents them to the public through the website ‘Remember Kaohsiung.’ As the students’ works mature over time, the collection of historical materials builds up and becomes the foundation for this exhibit. Many people and units were invited to bring the exhibit to life, including the AIT, the former director of Kaohsiung Museum of History, professor Yu-Fong Wang, NSYSU Alumni Service and Social Responsibility Center, Si Wan College, the Office of International Affairs, the Kaohsiung Port Land Development Co., and the Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan International Ports Corporation.

On September 24, the exhibit’s opening features retro costumes, swing dance, and jazz music that brings people back to the old days. AIT Director Oudkirk made the trip to Kaohsiung to participate in the opening ceremony, together with NSYSU President Cheng and Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Shyy. After the opening, guests were given guided tours of the exhibit and walked in the Yancheng District to visit the sites and footprints left by the mingling of Taiwan and American people in Kaohsiung. Director Oudkirk also visited NSYSU for a public speech the day before. The talk attracted over 250 students, faculty, and staff, including many international faculty and students.

The “Happy Days: American Culture and Daily Life in Kaohsiung” exhibit will be held from September 24 (Sat) to October 23 (Sun) at the KD9 of Kaohsiung Port Depot and opens to the public for free. During the exhibit, the organizer also planned guided tours in Chinese and English, lecture sessions on jazz music, visits to shops and stores in the neighborhood, stories sharing, and more.


For details, please check the “Kaohsiung Studies / The City as a Commuseum” Facebook page at