According to the museum's charter, The purpose of the Morris Museum of Art shall be: to enhance the quality of life in the Central Savannah River Area and to broaden the knowledge and understanding of the visual arts in the Southeastern United States by collecting, preserving and displaying works of art focused upon, but not limited to, the art and artists of the American South; by creating and hosting quality traveling exhibitions; and by developing and maintaining a library and research center focusing on Southern American painting; and to contribute to the general appreciation of art through lecture programs, symposia, publications, and other educational programs.
Over the years since its founding, the museum has adopted a simpler "purpose statement," to wit: The Morris Museum of Art exists for the purpose of collecting the art of the American South and interpreting same in regional, national, and global contexts. This guideline is intended to distill and forcefully express the museum's core mission-the creation, maintenance, and interpretation of a collection of works of art that serve as a visual correlative to the culture of the South. That mission is supported by the belief that, as museum pioneer John Cotton Dana once wrote, "a good museum attracts, entertains, arouses curiosity, leads to questioning, and thus promotes learning."
The Morris Museum of Art is dedicated to encouraging artistic inquiry, providing a rich visitor experience, and exercising civic responsibility.