PEABODY – Tourists looking for the Mary Baker Eddy homestead, the Lynn Museum, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum, or perhaps the Lynn Woods Reservation often get directions from strategically-located Essex National Heritage Area roadside signs.The brown signs with white lettering are part of federally-funded program to promote local culture and history and can be found throughout the county.Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, a Salem Democrat, took the lead on reauthorizing funds to ensure the signs remain in place. Tierney co-sponsored legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula, an Ohio Republican, which would extend the federal government’s commitment.”Historic preservation, trail development, and heritage education can enrich the quality of life for residents of our district and spur tourism that can help strengthen our regional economy,” Tierney said.Anne Harris, executive director of the Essex National Heritage Area Commission, joined Bank of America President Laurence Harrington in praising Tierney for his leadership.The original authorization for these so-called heritage areas was $10 million over 15 years. Tierney said many of these areas reportedly are on track to reach their authorized level of $10 million before the 15-year sunset clause, which is September 2012. The latest bill filed would extend that authorization for another 15 years, until 2027, and include an additional $10 million. In other words, the funding would total $20 million over 30 years.The signs point the way to many of the area’s most popular attractions, such as the Peabody Essex Museum and the House of Seven Gables in Salem, Fort Sewall in Marblehead, Brooksby Farm in Peabody, and the Saugus Iron Works or the Breakheart Reservation, both in Saugus.