Faded book spines, curtain backs, and tapestries; we’ve all witnessed the irreversible damage that light can cause to decorative objects. Such colour change can detrimentally affect the aesthetic appeal, interpretation, and accessibility of a collection. Like other heritage institutions, The National Archives strives to both preserve and provide access to its collections. A balance must be struck between exhibiting, and exposing the collection to potentially damaging light – or not exhibiting and restricting access to the collection. The National Archives’ exhibition lighting policy achieves this balance in most cases, but in others, such as the exhibition of unique and delicate textiles from the Board of Trade Design Registers that are prized for their colourful vibrancy, further analysis was required. In this case we used a technique called microfading to determine if the textiles could safely go on display in The Keeper’s Gallery.