Behind the Scenes at the Museum is the first novel of Kate Atkinson. The book covers the experiences of Ruby Lennox from a middle-class English family living in York.
By interspersing flashbacks with the narrative of Ruby's own life, the book chronicles the lives of four generations of women from Ruby's great-grandmother Alice to Ruby's mother's failed dreams.
The story of Ruby's own life is told in thirteen chapters, all written in the first person, documenting key periods in Ruby's life from 1951 ("Conception" beginning with the words "I exist!") to 1992. In between each chapter are (non-consecutive) flashbacks that tell the story from the point of view of one of the other (mostly female) members of Ruby's family—including her great-grandmother Alice, her grandmother Nell and her mother Bunty.