The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art strives to showcase American art for the public, and create a place where cultural and educational programs are made a priority. A permanent collection is housed at the museum, and is impetus behind the museum's innovative programs and exhibitions. At the core of the museum's, mission is the desire to serve the public, and create a community interest in American art.
The Southern Alleghenies Museum of American Art was first opened in 1976 on Saint Francis College's campus. The original collection exhibited at its opening consisted of less than a hundred works that included paintings, drawings, sculpture, and etchings. After seeing a few years of success, the museum began expanding its acquisitions in hopes of offering new experience for its visitors.
The museum's collection now consists of over 4,000 pieces of American art. To house their growing collection, the museum attempted to expand by moving to newer and larger locations over the years. This began in 1979, and continued over the next twenty years. Some of the locations included: the museum's Altoona Extension, a facility in Downtown Johnstown, in the Pasquerilla Perfuming Arts Center on the University of Pittsburg at Johnstown's campus, and finally to its present location, the Brett Building. It has also expanded with extensions of the museum, in places like Ligonier Valley.
One aspect of Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art's mission that the institution is noted for is its educational programs, and devotion to public education. Some these programs include, an Arts-in-Education program, Artist in Residence program, Art Camp, exhibition tours, teacher resources, and more. Visitors to the museum will experience American art in a variety of forms, and see art and culture with better understanding.