Russell Taragan

Photograph of Russell Taragan

Russell Taragan joined the American Museum of Natural History in 2007 as an outreach educator, driving a Moveable Museum truck to schools around the city. Russell now works for the department of Volunteer Services as manager of tour guides and explainers. This team of approximately 225 volunteers includes highlight and spotlight tour guides, as well as the explainers for fossils, earth and space, and special exhibits. Every year more than a thousand volunteers help the American Museum of Natural History fulfill its mission statement by donating more than 130,000 person-hours to the Museum. The Museum has volunteers of all ages, from 16 to over 90 years old.

Russell attended SUNY Geneseo in Western New York, receiving a B.S. in Biology in 2004. As a student he focused on ecology and conservation, conducting research on invasive macrophytes at Lake Conesus, NY, as well as in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy and France.

Russell has always loved science and nature, and his many hobbies reflect this. He likes to kayak, scuba, hike, and spend time outdoors whenever possible. Much of his free time is dedicated to building and flying rockets. Other hobbies include astronomy and microscopy, metal detecting, and building computers. Russell was first exposed to nature as a toddler, exploring the beaches of the Peconic Estuary to find rocks and shells. Like many New York residents, he also visited the Museum of Natural History as a child. His favorite halls are the Guggenheim Hall of Minerals, and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life where there are plenty of rock and shell specimens. Now that he works at the Museum, Russell considers it his duty to share the wonder and majesty of nature with visitors.