The Jarrow-based museum Bede’s World has closed because of a lack of funds, with the loss of 27 jobs.
In a statement from the trustee board on Friday, the trust that runs the museum said it would cease operation immediately and steps were being taken to put it into administration through the appointment of an insolvency practitioner.
Bede’s World, which celebrates the life of the mediaeval historian Bede, also known as the Venerable Bede, has struggled financially in recent years.
According to the Charity Commission website, the charity has had significantly more expenditure than income over the past two years. In the year to 31 March 2014, it had an income of £894,687 but spent more than £1.2m. In the following financial year, income fell to £732,569 against expenditure of £1.1m.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said the local authority was looking into alternative options for the site and ways to sustain its long-term future, albeit without the trust’s involvement.
"Despite receiving substantial support from South Tyneside Council, Bede’s World is closing," she said. "This is because it is not currently financially viable and the charitable trust that managed the attraction has gone into liquidation.
"The council is currently looking at a range of options for the site and, most importantly, to find a more affordable way to keep the facility open in the long term for the people of South Tyneside to enjoy."
The spokeswoman said ownership of the land and buildings would revert to the council under the terms of the existing leases, and arrangements had been made for the security of the museum site and the care of the farm animals it houses in a replica of an Anglo-Saxon farm.
The authority had not cut funding to the museum, she said.
The Anglo-Saxon scholar Bede, who was born in about 673 AD and died in 735, is best known for writing The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the first history book to use the AD dating system.